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Windows 7 Limited on VC-1 Video Codec Use

Microsoft last week acknowledged that the VC-1 video codec has limited performance on multicore systems running Windows 7.

VC-1 currently does not use all of the cores in processing video on three-core and six-core computer systems, according to a Microsoft support article. Microsoft is currently investigating the issue, the article states, without indicating when a resolution will be found.

VC-1 follows standards set by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and is formally known as "SMPTE 421M." Microsoft contributed the VC-1 technology in its Windows Media Player 9 video player product for the SMPTE standard, according to a Microsoft technical overview article, which describes the two technologies as being "functionally equivalent."

The patents for technologies used in VC-1 are held by a number of companies (including Microsoft) under MPEG LA, which controls licensing of the video codec. VC-1 is supported by various devices, such as Blu-ray disc players, mobile devices, video cameras, set-top boxes and game machines, including Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console.

Lately, video codecs have made the news, mostly because of disputes among browser makers with regard to HTML 5 support. The HTML 5 spec, currently under development by the Worldwide Web Consortium, promises to enable native Web browser support for video playback. However, the spec doesn't indicate which video codecs will support HTML 5.

The Table shows currently announced browser maker support for the three main video codecs with HTML 5. Mozilla and Opera only support open source video codecs (VP8 and Ogg Theora). Google launched VP8 into open source in May as part of the WebM open Web media project.


Browser Support for Video Codecs With HTML 5
H.264 Ogg Theora VP8
Apple Safari - -
Google Chrome Google Chrome Google Chrome
Microsoft IE 9 - Microsoft IE 9
- Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox
- Opera Opera

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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