The US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Excellence to ITU, ISO and IEC – global leaders in making standards – for their work in producing an advanced video coding standard, formally known as Recommendation ITU-T H.264 | ISO/IEC Standard 14496-10 on Advanced Video Coding (AVC).
The Joint Video Team (JVT), made up of experts from the three international standards organisations, received industry recognition for its landmark achievement in developing a "high profile" that extends the reach of high quality video from mobile telephones right through to High Definition Television (HDTV). The JVT was formed in 2001 by the ITU Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).
H.264 | MPEG-4 AVC is a highly efficient video compression method that substantially reduces the bandwidth needed to deliver high quality video and the space required to store it. Seven sets of capabilities, referred to as "profiles", have been created for use in specific applications. It is a combination of the great efficiency of the codec as well as its scalability in delivering excellent quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum – from high definition television to videoconferencing and 3G-mobile multimedia – that has led to its increasing popularity.
The award was given at a ceremony in Hollywood, Los Angeles on 23 August and received by Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU's standardization bureau, and Scott Jameson, Chair of the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee on Information Technology (ISO/IEC JTC 1) together with representatives of the JVT management team.
In his acceptance speech on behalf of the three organisations, Malcolm Johnson said: "H.264 | MPEG-4 AVC is a jewel in the crown of international standards collaboration. This standard's versatility has been recognized and applauded across an amazing spectrum of industry. Its widespread adoption is testament to the flexibility and efficiency that has been engineered by a group of people that have dedicated themselves to achieving this goal. It also demonstrates a sincere and strong belief in the power of international standards."
ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden says: "This second Emmy Award in 12 years for multimedia standards developed by ISO and its partners is living proof of the market relevance of international standardisation as practised by ISO, IEC and ITU, while illustrating the role played by international standards in translating innovation into useable technology."
Commenting on the award, the IEC General Secretary & CEO Ronnie Amit says: "I would like to pay tribute to the experts from the industry who have made the work of the JVT so relevant and timely. Their leadership, energy and inspiration to bring video and audio coding standards to fruition shows what truly international standards can bring in terms of interoperability and benefits, and how they can touch the lives of billions of people around the world."
The Engineering Emmy awards are presented "for developments in engineering that are either so extensive an improvement on existing methods or so innovative in nature that they materially affect the transmission, recording or reception of television."
H.264 | MPEG-4 AVC is now being deployed in products and services from companies such as Adobe, Apple, BBC, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Sony, Tandberg and Toshiba to deliver high definition video images over broadcast television, cable TV and a variety of direct-broadcast satellite-based television services as well as Blu-Ray disk formats, mobile phones and Internet Protocol television (IPTV).