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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

ExpressVu - Introduction of MPEG-4

Last December, George Cope the Chief Operating Officer at Bell noted in his 2007 Business review that one of ExpressVu's key priorities in 2007 would be the transition to MPEG-4 for HD and special programming.

The Bell ExpressVu 6141, 9241 and 9242 HD MPEG4 receivers are a key component in the transition from the existing MPEG-2 standard to the more advanced MPEG-4 standard.

MPEG-4 is an advanced audio video compression scheme that will allow ExpressVu to deliver bandwidth hogging high definition signals more efficiently. Once the transition to MPEG4 is complete, ExpressVu will be able to offer more channels (and increase revenues) without having to put more satellites.

The biggest problem with implementing MPEG-4 is that only consumers with MPEG-4 receivers will be able to decode the signals. First generation ExpressVu HD receivers can't decode MPEG-4 signals and will need to be replaced or somehow upgraded.

In simple terms, MPEG-4 means that today’s Bell ExpressVu HD receivers will become obsolete and at some point ExpressVu equipment owners will be forced to upgrade to the next generation of HD receivers.

The roadmap for transition has not been announced by Bell so its impossible to know if the transition is expected to happen this year, next year or the year after that! Nonetheless, word of new MPEG-4 receivers will put a chill on existing HD receiver sales since most astute readers will opt to wait rather than buy now.