Evolution of Digital Video

Everyday, we incorporate multimedia in our life. From the music in our radios and iPods, clips from pirated cd's, interactive games in our 3G phones, up to the techno or scifi films that we watch in the cinemas. People always indulge in this technology to inform and entertain themselves.

Way back in mid-50's, a new form of entertainment was introduced. This is a technology that paved the way to videos. Led by Mr. Charles P. Ginsburg, the research team at Ampex Corporation developed the first practical videotape recorder (VTR) that captured live images from television cameras by converting the information into electrical impulses and saving the information onto magnetic tape. Ampex sold the first VTR for $50,000 in 1956. The first VCassetteR or VCR were sold by Sony in 1971.

Later on in the 70's, manufacturers of professional video broadcast equipment, such as Bosch (through their Fernseh division), RCA , and Ampex developed prototype digital videotape recorders in their research and development labs. Bosch's machine used a modified 1" Type B transport, and recorded an early form of CCIR 601 digital video. None of these machines from these manufacturers were ever marketed commercially, however.

Digital video was first introduced commercially in 1986 with the Sony D-1 format, which recorded an uncompressed standard definition component video signal in digital form instead of the high-band analog forms that had been commonplace until then. Due to the expense, D-1 was used primarily by large television networks. It would eventually be replaced by cheaper systems using compressed data, most notably Sony's Digital Betacam, still heavily used as a field recording format by professional television producers.

Consumer digital video first appeared in the form of QuickTime, Apple Computer's architecture for time-based and streaming data formats, which appeared in crude form around 1990. Initial consumer-level content creation tools were crude, requiring an analog video source to be digitized to a computer-readable format. While low-quality at first, consumer digital video increased rapidly in quality, first with the introduction of playback standards such as MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 (adopted for use in television transmission and DVD media), and then the introduction of the DV tape format allowing recording direct to digital data and simplifying the editing process, allowing non-linear editing systems to be deployed wholly on desktop computers.

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