Friday, April 15, 2011

"Squeeze More In" for Video Devices -- Never get stuck again!

Wouldn't it be nice to have a video device with infinite capacity that never got full?
  • Have you ever shot so much video that your phone/camera got full and made you stop?
  • Did you miss getting something on video because the phone/camera was full and you did not have the time or opportunity to upload or delete some video to make space for more?
  • Has your DVR ever erased a show you wanted because you lacked space for a new recording?
  • Has your DVR ever failed to record a new show because all your old video was marked "do not delete"?
If so, what you need is Progressive Deletion -- a compression method that lets your device "squeeze more in."  Of course it is not infinite, but it can enable a lot of squeezing.

Progressive Deletion is a new spin on video compression that is the subject of one of my recently issued patents.  It is not yet available on any device, but I am seeking manufacturers who want to offer this new feature to their users.  If you are in the video industry and know people who might build this, please let me know -- and tell them!  If you are a user who likes the idea, I am interested in hearing that also.

Background on Progressive Deletion is on the Web, but briefly, here is the basic concept.
  • Many image compression algorithms allow for varying levels of compression, where the more you compress, the less the quality retained, and many cameras and DVRs allow you to set any of several levels of compression.
  • Generally you pick one, and are stuck with it.  But more flexibilty is applied in "progressive" video transmissions, where you might receive only a high significance layer if you have limited bandwidth, to get moderate quality, or additional lower significance layers if you have more bandwidth.  The added layers add more quality when combined at the video player.  
  • But either way, once you have the video saved on your device, it can't be made smaller without reformatting, and that takes time (if enabled at all)
  • Progressive Deletion methods take this one step farther by storing video in your device layer by layer, so that an entire layer can be instantly deleted if you want to sacrifice some quality to free some space.
Thus you can "squeeze more in" by simply telling the device to delete some low significance layers, and just keep on shooting or recording.  That could also be set as an automatic operation -- your device might indicate that you are reaching a deletion point, and just do it if you keep shooting or recording, with no interruption at all.  Of course you might also be given the option to select specific videos to be squeezed or not.

All of this is done without changing the compression method, just by changing storage order (from by time, to by layer). It maintains compatibility with standard formats by just exporting the standard ordering when video is uploaded or transmitted (or importing from standard ordering when downloading).

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