The BBC has demonstrated an open source video codec named Dirac which it claims offers twice the bit rate of MPEG-2 at the same bandwidth.
According to a story on The Register, the new codec was revealed at the LinuxWorld exhibition yesterday where the BBC appealed for collaboration from the open-source community and academics.
The BBC claims that the codec is general-purpose, suitable for streaming media, video storage, and other applications requiring compression.
Dirac, named after the physicist, is suitable for resolutions from QCIF (180-x-144pixels) to HDTV (1920-x-1080pixels), progressive or interlaced, according to the BBC R&D group responsible.
Unlike other codecs, Dirac uses wavelets, motion compensation and arithmetic coding. The first alpha release was in March this year and the software source code is licensed under the Mozilla Public License Version 1.1.
The BBC concedes that a lot remains to be done to convert the algorithm and its experimental implementation into practical useable code, but is confident that it can compete with other state of the art codecs.