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HBO to use MPEG-4 and mandate a minimum bit-rate

Ben Drawbaugh

In a world where almost all HD channels are distributed with MPEG-2, HBO has just announced that all 26 of their new HD channels will be MPEG-4. The stream will be 8 Mbps, and HBO has mandated that the provider not reduce the bit-rate. What they didn't say is, what the minimum will be for all those MPEG-2 networks that will no doubt transcode the signal rather than upgrade their entire network (including all the STBs). This is an obvious advantage to satellite providers who are already planning on deploying their new HD channels with MPEG-4; and for HBO who won't have to spend as much cash on bandwidth to distribute their feeds.

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