BBC iPlayer improves video quality

“The BBC has rolled out new, higher-quality streams for iPlayer on the web using open standards H.264 and AAC+.

“Currently, BBC iPlayer serves video streams at 500Kbps using the VP6 compression codec, a proprietary system developed by On2 which was selected in 2005 as Macromedia’s preferred codec for video playback by Flash because of its ability to perform well at low bitrates and on older computers.

“In March, the BBC started delivering iPlayer streams using the newer, open H.264 video codec and AAC for audio to users viewing the service on iPhone or iPod Touch. Today, it began offering high quality streams using an 800Kbps bitrate, and the new codecs, to web users.

“BBC director of future media and technology Erik Huggers said on the BBC Internet Blog that the move came because “the time has come for the BBC to start adopting open standards such as H.264 and AAC for our audio and video services on the web,” with the technologies having “matured enough to make them viable alternatives to other solutions”.


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