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Smaller, Faster Video Downloads Possible With New Compression Technology

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If you’re an avid television downloader like me, then you have had to wait, and sometimes wait and wait, for a movie or TV show to download. This can be a real pain depending on your level of patience. I don’t really like to wait; for me one of the big plusses of the Internet is the almost instant gratification of being able to watch when I want to watch.

That’s why I was excited when I read about EuclidVision (if you are interested in the technical side check out their company website). This is a video compression system that was originally created by Euclid Discoveries for use in video conferencing. Their claims are pretty impressive and could completely alter the Internet television and movie download market.

The Boston Globe had this to say:

Euclid Discoveries says a full-length movie that requires 700 megabytes of storage when compressed using MPEG-4 would use just 50 megabytes when compressed with EuclidVision. At that size, 14 movies could fit on a standard CD-ROM disk. As for video downloading, it would take an hour for someone with a 1.5 megabit-per-second broadband connection to download a 700-megabyte file. But 50 megabytes would take less than five minutes. ”It would solve a big bottleneck,” said Christopher Chute, senior research analyst at IDC Corp. in Framingham. ”One of the reasons video has always been cumbersome . . . is it requires so much storage space.”

Smaller movie files could be a boon to major Hollywood studios, which have begun to embrace Internet movie downloads. Last week, two online companies, MovieLink and CinemaNow, began selling downloadable copies of popular films. Downloads can take as long as two hours. EuclidVision could make the process far faster.

Only ten minutes for a full movie would mean more downloads and hopefully more programming on the Web. But downloads would not be the only thing affected; streaming would change and there is also potential for more high-definition programs. There is, of course, the continued fear about piracy. There are some claims that this technology would, by making television and movies easier to download, increase illegal copying and distributing. I hope that fear doesn’t keep EuclidVision from happening. Keeping the market as it is isn’t going to work. If Hollywood wants to fight piracy then they should work with the technology, not against it.

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  • Bliffle

    Is Euclid related to the iPod and PDA conversion (is it called 3GP) that I’ve stumbled across?

  • Bliffle: they mention iPods on their website, so possibly.

    Mainly I think that this is bunkum. Not technically false, but so specific and careful that it might be considered misleading. They talk about teleconferencing and talking heads, and it’s true that some video formats can be optimized for that presentation. The idea is that most of the “screen” doesn’t change at all, while the eyes and mouth of the talking head doo.

    Reality is, though, that even with talking heads, people move more than that, so you end up having to repaint more of the screen more often than you would like in all but the most specific of examples.

    I suspect they used one of those examples for their testing: a very short clip of someone not moving at all.

    I mean, what good is a high compression ratio if it won’t compress what I want to watch?

  • Jordan Kaplan

    Has anything new happened with Euclid? I’ve googled them and can find the same Boston Globe article, a Wikipedia entry and some random blog entries. Anything more recent? When can we expect this technology?