Revenge of the Codecs Part 1 – JPEG XS

The standard vehicle for IP video switching, Motion JPEG 2000, is a new technology to many AV integrators but is quite old, dating back to 2001. The codec, initially designed for compressing video for archiving, found a broader application today for IP video switching and distribution.

Its architecture is perfect for the application, as the stream is a continuous series of JPEG images, it’s easy to switch between frames. With 20:1 compression, a 4K 60 stream can be carried over a standard 1G network. The advanced intoPIX codec, used by Dante AV and Crestron, can process video with a low latency of 10 milliseconds. And to top it off, MJP2000 is royalty-free. What could be better?

Well, there’s a wish list of new features from 4K/8K video producers and broadcasters. They want uncompressed performance with the bandwidth savings of compression, largely so they can use their existing 1G IP and 3G SDI copper infrastructure. A codec designed for 4K/8K video from the ground up, and a lighter approach to compression with less demanding processing than the old MJP2 engine. Most importantly, latency in the microsecond range. And royalty-free (there is a nominal cost from the codec vendor, but very low compared to Dolby or MPEG). 

Welcome to JPEG XS

That’s the specs for the new JPEG XS, which stands for eXtra Small (bandwidth, processing and name). The codec will be finalized this year, available next year for CPU, FPGA and ASIC processors. 

As most AV IP Switching codecs run on an FPGA processor, vendors could switch to the new codec with an update, gaining uncompressed level video quality and microsecond latency. intoPIX is one provider, so this could be an easy step for Dante and Crestron. This is a very competitive space, and the JPEG XS can separate the winners from the honorable mentions.

In the long term, equipment costs may reduce, as JPEG XS can run on lower-cost processors. 

So keep an eye out – this transition could happen as fast as, well, JPEG XS.