Why I’m happy to pay the BBC licence fee

Why I’m happy to pay the BBC licence fee

NEWS.COM report:

The British Broadcasting Corp. has announced an open-source video compression project that it hopes could one day give Windows Media Player a run for its money.

The BBC didn’t make a particularly big show of the project at LinuxWorld in London, but if the codec lives up to expectations, it could soon be challenging proprietary video technology.

The codec, called Dirac–after physicist Paul Dirac–is still in the early stages of testing. But developers say when it goes into beta in the fall of 2005, there’s a good chance it will be as good, if not better, than anything else out there.

Lead developer Thomas Davies, who founded the project three years ago, has Microsoft’s Windows Media Player in his sights.

Davies stressed that he is not seeking to create a product, but rather a tool that other developers can use to build their own software.

“It is an entirely general-purpose code,” he said. The technologies used are suitable for everything, he said, from low-resolution mobile phone screens to high-definition television and even cinema. “You could use it for desktop video production, you could use it for streaming, or you could use it for movies–anyplace where you need compression.”