Worlds first high performance Dirac video codec implementation available

San Francisco, USA, 6th of March 2008: Today, the Schrödinger project has announced that it has made available the world’s first high performance implementation of Dirac. Dirac is a royalty-free video codec created by BBC Research & Innovation and is the first mainstream codec using next generation wavelet technology.

The final specification of Dirac became available on 21st of January 2008 and now the Schrödinger project is proud to announce an implementation of that specification. Schrödinger core is implemented in ANSI C with further assembly level optimisations privided through the liboil optimisation library. The Schrödinger decoding and encoding components offer a stable ABI for developers which will enable easy integration of Dirac support for application and media framework developers. The Schrödinger project also includes a set of GStreamer plugins as an example of how to use the Schrödinger library in a modern multimedia framework.

The release of the Schrodinger library will significantly reduce the the time required to include Dirac support in multimedia applications, therefore reducing the barrier to adoption substantially.

Thanks to collaboration with the Xiph.org foundation there is an official mapping for putting Dirac video into the Ogg container format underway, and the Schrödinger project also hosts a proposal for mapping Dirac into the popular MPEG-TS container format, which is currently being considered for certification by the MPEG working group. We expect to see and provide mappings for a lot more container formats in due course.

With the release of the 1.0 version of Schrödinger we already provide top notch support for GStreamer. GStreamer (http://gstreamer.freedesktop.org) is a cross-platform, open source multimedia framework that serves a host of multimedia applications, such as video editors, streaming media broadcasters, video conferencing and media players. It is an integral part of the GNOME desktop environment as well as being used in a number of embedded devices such as the Nokia series of Internet Tablets, as well as being available on the Windows, Solaris and Mac OS X platforms.

“The release of Schrödinger 1.0 opens up many opportunities for applications requiring compressed video. Dirac represents a great innovation in the design of video codecs, combining proven tools in unique and powerful ways and providing a high-quality royalty-free solution for the entire range of video compression. Schroedinger delivers this to the use.” says David Schleef, leader of the Schrödinger project.

“At Novell we are excited about the availability of the Dirac video codec and plan to incorporate it into SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop,” commented Aaron Bockover, Lead Multimedia Engineer at Novell. “As the adoption of our Novell desktop solutions are gaining traction in the marketplace and the importance of applications like our popular Banshee multimedia application grows, having access to bleeding edge open technologies like Dirac is essential. Promoting openness and freedom in the marketplace is critical, and we commend the Schr#246;dinger project on this release”

“We see a powerful open source ally in the BBC. The recent completion of the Dirac specification and this week’s release of Scroedinger are solid steps forward for media in the Free world. Congratulations all and we can’t wait to see what comes next!”" commented Monty Montgomery, creator of Ogg Vorbis and Xiph.org.”

“We want to congratulate the Schrodinger project on this first release, as a company specializing in the field of multimedia we are very happy to see such a high quality codec become available.” says Christian Schaller, Collabora Multimedia. “The Dirac codec levels the playing field in the area of multimedia and have every opportunity to see rapid adoption.”

The Dirac codec was named in honour of famous theoretical physicist Paul Dirac. The Schrodinger project’s name pays homage to physicist Erwin Schrödinger who won the Nobel prize together with Paul Dirac in 1933.

Companies and organisations looking who needs assistance with incorporating Dirac support into their systems and applications can contact David Schleef through his consultancy company Big Kitten LLC.

For more information visit the The Schrodinger Project

About Dirac:

Dirac is a general-purpose video compression family suitable for everything from internet streaming to HDTV and electronic cinema. In streaming applications, Dirac achieves state of the art performance, offering high quality at low bit rates, leading to lower costs.

Dirac also supports professional profiles optimized for television and cinema production. This includes very low delay coding, ideal – ideal for live broadcast applications in studios and outside broadcasts. Dirac professional profiles are currently in the process of being standardized by SMPTE as VC-2 and standardization of full Dirac is planned for this year.

Dirac is an open technology – removing licensing costs on software, hardware and content flow. Dirac’s technical flexibility offers a versatile package, facilitating ease of operation over many applications and therefore saving money. Whatever the application, it is possible to select parameters which offer the solution you need.

For more information on Dirac visit the BBC Dirac homepage.