Video Codecs

There are a number of codecs (compression/decompression algorithms) that can be used to compress video files for the Web. Many of these codecs can be applied to several different file formats (discussed in the next section of this chapter).

Video-editing software packages often offer a long list of codecs in their compressor list options. This list focuses on just those that are relevant to video intended for web delivery.


The Sorenson Video codec was designed for low-bandwidth applications and is capable of producing files with lower data rates (if you select the Limit Data Rate option) than Cinepak while maintaining excellent quality. Because it uses complicated compression algorithms, it requires a lot of processing power and may not run smoothly on older machines.


This codec (also known as MPEG-4, Part 10) was designed to provide good video quality at drastically reduced bit rates, making it an exciting new codec for web video. It was created by ITU-T in collaboration with the group that developed MPEG (together known as the Joint Video Team). The H.264 standard and MPEG-4, Part 10 standard are technically identical, and the technology is also known as AVC, for Advanced Video Coding. In addition to being useful for Internet transmission, it may accommodate higher bit rates for broadcast, DVD, and telephony.

Apple Computer integrated support for H.264 compression into its OS X 10.4 (Tiger) operating system as well as QuickTime 7, both released in ...

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