Image Processing Reference
Table 1-3 SMPTE VC-1 Codec Names and Aliases
The original terminology used when Microsoft was the only party
with “ownership” of the codec name.
An often-used abbreviation. We will use this when specifically
referring to Windows Media Series 9 and not the SMPTE
An older version of Windows Media.
An even older version.
The oldest version currently mentioned in product specs.
One of the proposed names for the SMPTE standardized version of
WM9 that emerged during 2004.
Apparently, the codec will be officially known as VC-1.
Note that this codec might also be shown in some literature as VC1
without the dash. This might be important when searching
The newest version of the Windows Media series codecs. This is
currently on beta release for the Windows operating system
AVC context. Having observed the usage amongst the video-compression community
over some time, I have found that engineering people use the term H.264 and commercial
or marketing people prefer AVC.
Further confusion arises during discussion of the Windows Media codecs, since they
have been lodged with SMPTE for ratification as an open standard. All of the naming con-
ventions in Table 1-3 have been used in documents about video compression and codecs:
Unless it is necessary to refer to the Windows Media codec by a different alias, the
term VC-1 will be used in this topic as far as possible.
Where to Next?
So, let's go on a voyage of discovery together throughout the rest of this topic. By the end
of it, you should discover that although video compression is sometimes complex, the
complexity comes from a large number of small subsystems. Individually, they are quite
simple to understand, so don't be frightened by the complexity. It is challenging at first,
but after a little experimentation and a look at the practical encoding chapter, it should all
fall into place. By the end of the topic, you should have a good idea of how to build a
small, medium, or large compression system from the available hardware components
and software applications.