ImageCom, the Berkshire-based video codec manufacturer, has decided to play both sides of its market's hardware versus software debate by making its latest H.323 and MPEG4 algorithm products available in both formats.
Phil Taylor, director of marketing, said: "The real focus is the software codec. We believe developments in processing chips from the main manufacturers — Texas Instruments or Intel — combined with advances in PC performance, make for good video from software codecs on generic platforms.
"But there's a niche for high- quality video on very reliable platforms. That's what hardware is for: DVD quality."
He says ImageCom's codecs are superior to those from rivals IndigoVision and Amphion because his company has worked on real-time applications where minimising the delay in encoding and decoding is very important.
But Taylor admits that the hardware codec is not programmable to the same extent as Indi goVision's, which can be clocked at a chosen speed for low power consumption, and allows the choice of a maximum frame size to get a smaller chip by limiting the ram buffers.
ImageCom's first licence for the codecs has gone to a company that is adding video to e-mail.