The distribution, delivery and storage of video are core activities for broadcasters. In the digital world, compression is used to exploit limited storage and transmission capacity as efficiently as possible. The BBC is developing a video compression technology, called Dirac, so that we can understand the technology and use it at a reasonable cost and without restrictions.

Dirac is a hybrid motion-compensated codec that uses modern techniques such as wavelet transforms and arithmetic coding. It is an open technology which means that it is freely available and can be used without the payment of licence fees. Open technology is well suited to the business model of public service broadcasters as it allows open collaboration by those interested in its future development.

This document was originally published in the EBU Technical Review July 2005.