Video coding

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Video coding is the field in electrical engineering and computer science that deals with representation of video data, for storage and/or transmission, for both analog and digital video. Though video coding is often considered to be only for natural video, it can also be applied to synthetic (computer generated) video, i.e., graphics. Many representations take advantage of features of the Human Visual System to achieve an efficient representation.

The goals of video coding are to accurately represent the video data, compactly, provide means to navigate the video (i.e. search forwards and backwards, random access, etc) and other additional author and content benefits such as text (subtitles), meta information for searching/browsing and digital rights management.

The biggest challenge is to reduce the size of the video data using video compression. For this reason the terms "video coding" and "video compression" are often used interchangeably by those who don't know the difference. The search for efficient video compression techniques dominated much of the research activity for video coding since the early 1980s, the first major milestone was H.261, from which JPEG adopted the idea of using the DCT; since then many other advancements have been made to algorithms such as motion estimation. Since approximately 2000 the focus has been more on meta data and video search, resulting in MPEG-7 and MPEG-21.

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