Computers can now display television and film-style video clips and streaming media, encouraged by increased processor speed, storage capacity, and broadband access to the Internet. General-purpose computing hardware can now be used to capture, store, edit, and transmit television and movie content, as opposed to older dedicated analog technologies.
The term video (from Latin: "I see") commonly refers to several storage formats for moving eye pictures: digital video formats, including DVD, QuickTime, and MPEG-4; and analog videotapes, including VHS and Betamax. Video can be recorded and transmitted in various physical media: in magnetic tape when recorded as PAL or NTSC electric signals by video cameras, or in MPEG-4 or DV digital media when recorded by digital cameras.
Quality of video essentially depends on the capturing method and storage used. Digital television (DTV) is a relatively recent format with higher quality than earlier television formats and has become a standard for television video. (See List of digital television deployments by country.)
3D-video, digital video in three dimensions, premiered at the end of 20th century. Six or eight cameras with realtime depth measurement are typically used to capture 3D-video streams. The format of 3D-video is fixed in MPEG-4 Part 16 Animation Framework eXtension (AFX).
In the UK, Australia, The Netherlands, Finland, Hungary and New Zealand, the term video is often used informally to refer to both Videocassette recorders and video cassettes; the meaning is normally clear from the context.
In progressive scan systems, each refresh period updates all of the scan lines. The result is a higher perceived resolution and a lack of various artifacts that can make parts of a stationary picture appear to be moving or flashing.
A procedure known as deinterlacing can be used for converting an interlaced stream, such as analog, DVD, or satellite, to be processed by progressive scan devices, such as TFT TV-sets, projectors, and plasma panels. Deinterlacing cannot, however, produce a video quality that is equivalent to true progressive scan source material.
The size of a video image is measured in pixels for digital video, or horizontal scan lines and vertical lines of resolution for analog video. In the digital domain (e.g. DVD) standard-definition television (SDTV) is specified as 720/704/640×480i60 for NTSC and 768/720×576i50 for PAL or SECAM resolution. However in the analog domain, the number of visible scanlines remains constant (486 NTSC/576 PAL) while the horizontal measurement varies with the quality of the signal: approximately 320 pixels per scanline for VCR quality, 400 pixels for TV broadcasts, and 720 pixels for DVD sources. Aspect ratio is preserved because of non-square "pixels".
New high-definition televisions (HDTV) are capable of resolutions up to 1920×1080p60, i.e. 1920 pixels per scan line by 1080 scan lines, progressive, at 60 frames per second.
Video resolution for 3D-video is measured in voxels (volume picture element, representing a value in three dimensional space). For example 512×512×512 voxels resolution, now used for simple 3D-video, can be displayed even on some PDAs.
Aspect ratio describes the dimensions of video screens and video picture elements. All popular video formats are rectilinear, and so can be described by a ratio between width and height. The screen aspect ratio of a traditional television screen is 4:3, or about 1.33:1. High definition televisions use an aspect ratio of 16:9, or about 1.78:1. The aspect ratio of a full 35 mm film frame with soundtrack (also known as the Academy ratio) is 1.375:1.
Ratios where the height is taller than the width are uncommon in general everyday use, but do have application in computer systems where the screen may be better suited for a vertical layout. The most common tall aspect ratio of 3:4 is referred to as portrait mode and is created by physically rotating the display device 90 degrees from the normal position. Other tall aspect ratios such as 9:16 are technically possible but rarely used. (For a more detailed discussion of this topic please refer to the page orientation article.)
Pixels on computer monitors are usually square, but pixels used in digital video often have non-square aspect ratios, such as those used in the PAL and NTSC variants of the CCIR 601 digital video standard, and the corresponding anamorphic widescreen formats. Therefore, an NTSC DV image which is 720 pixels by 480 pixels is displayed with the aspect ratio of 4:3 (which is the traditional television standard) if the pixels are thin and displayed with the aspect ratio of 16:9 (which is the anamorphic widescreen format) if the pixels are fat.
Color model name describes the video color representation. YIQ was used in NTSC television. It corresponds closely to the YUV scheme used in NTSC and PAL television and the YDbDr scheme used by SECAM television.
The number of distinct colours that can be represented by a pixel depends on the number of bits per pixel (bpp). A common way to reduce the number of bits per pixel in digital video is by chroma subsampling (e.g. 2:2#4:4:4, 2:2#4:2:2, 2:0#4:2:0, 1:1#4:1:1).
The subjective video quality of a video processing system may be evaluated as follows:
Many subjective video quality methods are described in the ITU-T recommendation BT.500. One of the standardized method is the Double Stimulus Impairment Scale (DSIS). In DSIS, each expert views an unimpaired reference video followed by an impaired version of the same video. The expert then rates the impaired video using a scale ranging from "impairments are imperceptible" to "impairments are very annoying".
Variable bit rate (VBR) is a strategy to maximize the visual video quality and minimize the bit rate. On fast motion scenes, a variable bit rate uses more bits than it does on slow motion scenes of similar duration yet achieves a consistent visual quality. For real-time and non-buffered video streaming when the available bandwidth is fixed, e.g. in videoconferencing delivered on channels of fixed bandwidth, a constant bit rate (CBR) must be used.
New HD DVD and Blu-ray Discs will greatly improve the sharpness and detail of the two-color 3D effect in color coded stereo programs. The first commercially available HD players were expected to debut at the 2006 NAB Show in Las Vegas in April. See articles Stereoscopy and 3D film.
For transmission, there is a physical connector and signal protocol ("video connection standard" below). A given physical link can carry certain "display standards" which specify a particular refresh rate, display resolution, and color space. There are a number of analog and digital tape formats, though digital video files can also be stored on a computer file system which have their own formats. In addition to the physical format used by the storage or transmission medium, the stream of ones and zeros that is sent must be in a particular digital video "encoding", of which a number are available.
An analog video format consists of more information than the visible content of the frame. Preceding and following the image are lines and pixels containing synchronization information or a time delay. This surrounding margin is known as a blanking interval or blanking region; the horizontal and vertical front porch and back porch are the building blocks of the blanking interval.
Many countries are planning a digital switchover to cease using these analog formats via terrestrial television broadcast. However, analog television sets expecting these older standards as input will be able to display standard definition digital signals if coupled with a converter box.