Friday, October 21, 2005

DirecTV making MPEG-4 Set Top Boxes

DirecTV just sent out a press release yesterday. Apparently LG will be making new MPEG-4 set top boxes for them. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is a highly good thing. Right now there aren't any MPEG-4 DVR's in production, but they will undoubtedly be on the way. When they do appear, they'll be able to hold something like 3 times as much video as your standard MPEG-2 recorder.

Obviously this is a good thing for DirecTV now, too. Since their data is compressed 3 times as much as standard MPEG-2 video, they get to save tremendously on bandwidth, at least as soon as people start upgrading. It also means they can cram HDTV broadcasts into the same space that they used previously for normal low resolution video. So it's a good thing for us now, too.

The new DirecTV boxes will of course be backward compatible, capable of decoding both MPEG-4 and the old MPEG-2 streams. They'll have new digital outputs (HDMI/HDCP), as well as the old style composite and component outputs.

Finally, satellite providers are catching on to the idea that MPEG-4 is a good thing.

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