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Video Compression

Dirac is an open and royalty-free video compression format, specification and system developed by BBC Research at the BBC. Schrödinger and dirac-research (formerly just called 'Dirac') are open and royalty-free software implementations (video codecs) of Dirac. Dirac format aims to provide high-quality video compression for Ultra HDTV and beyond, and as such competes with existing formats such as H.264 and VC-1.

The specification was finalised in January 2008, and further developments are only bug fixes and constraints. In September of that year, version 1.0.0 of an I-frame only subset known as Dirac Pro was released and has since been standardised by the SMPTE as VC-2. Version 2.2.3 of the full Dirac specification, including motion compensation and inter-frame coding, was issued a few days later. Dirac Pro was used internally by the BBC to transmit HDTV pictures at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The format implementations are named in honour of the theoretical physicists Paul Dirac and Erwin Schrödinger, who shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in physics.