Looking at NUVision

Since I still have nothing better to do, I decided to look at some obscure video codec I had laying around for really long time. And it turned out to be simple yet rather original.

Unlike many other codecs, this one codes YUV 4:2:2 (at least it looks like that) line per line in chunks of 24, 16 or 8 elements (essentially 24-pixel chunks plus shorter tail and the line width being a multiple of eight). Each chunk can be coded using one of four modes (leave it as is, decode and apply delta, copy chunk from the previous line with or without delta). Delta values are coded as chunk quantiser, delta values (-q, 0, q, escape) plus escape values. And since those mode/delta values can fit into two bits, they’re packed together into 16-bit words.

If you look at it, there’s nothing really inventive: short slices are present in many codecs, lossy delta coding is common too. But together they create a combination that I’ve not seen anywhere else. And that’s why looking at older codecs is pleasing: beside seeing rip-offs of the standard codecs sometimes you also encounter such original ideas as well.

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