Understanding and Applying the Codec Triangle: Why Compromise?
Editor’s note: this is not a blog that will continue to use adorable baby photos as click bait. However, in this one exceptional case, Mr. Dodd insisted that he is cuter than Mr. Kennington, and threatened that if we did not indulge him, he would in future create SDVoE Academy content exclusively to ‘prove’ his insane theory that Australia doesn’t actually exist. The editor of this blog can assure our audience: NO MORE CUTE BABIES from here onward. Thank you for your patience.
Now back to our regularly scheduled content.
Applying the codec triangle
Growing up, I always believed I knew right from wrong. After all, not only did my parents instil it upon me, so did the teachers at the grammar school I had the pleasure of being educated at. It’s often said that our dear Queen Elizabeth once quipped that “there are only two types of English spoken, my way and the wrong way”. So, imagine my surprise when I read a post from an American suggesting he gives me an English lesson!
Revisiting nouns and verbs… and adverbs
To quote the Bard, ‘the fool doth think he is wise’…and then it occurred to me. Maybe, just maybe, he had a point. The lesson seemed to centre on the differences between nouns and verbs, comparing the matrix switch and its ‘doing’ counterpart matrix switching. Not included in his prose, however, was the adverb. After all, when one usually does something, it is often complemented with a description of how it is ‘done’. ‘Matrix switching is the delivering of signals from sources to destinations with minimal impact to the signals themselves’ sounds somewhat flat compared to ‘matrix switching delivers signals from sources to destinations flawlessly with minimal impact to the signals themselves.’
Selling perfection to the customers is or should be, top of the bill. It is after all that he wants, absolute perfection. Anyone can buy a product that ‘does’ something but buying something that does it perfectly is always a better option. The matrix switch was able to distribute high-quality video perfectly, so it sold by the bucket load! AV over IP has often struggled to lay the same claim, and as a result, it wasn’t nearly as popular. However, things have changed! Networks are far more capable than they were even 5 years ago, and they’re getting cheaper by the day. This means we are now able to add that all important ‘perfectly’ to our statement, which we’ve been waiting to do for years!
The American rightly points out that ‘matrix switch’ is a noun that refers to a thing that delivers signals from sources to destinations and that ‘matrix switching’ is a verb, explaining the function of delivering signals from sources to destinations with minimal impact to the signals themselves. However, I question his comment about ‘matrix switching being the core application at the heart of AV signal distribution, and what system users care about’.
Surely what system users care about is the AV signal being distributed ‘perfectly’, or ‘reliably’, regardless of what might happen in the future?
Our codec triangle courses in the SDVoE Academy
In part 1 of our SDVoE Academy course, you will learn what the codec triangle is, and how to visualize and understand the tradeoffs that every codec makes – between image quality, latency, and bandwidth. In Part 2, you will learn how codecs are used in today’s video systems with real facts about how they actually work enabling you to make the correct choices for your video distribution application.