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|Founder(s)||James Lee Sorenson|
|Headquarters||Carlsbad, California, U.S.|
|Key people||Peter Csathy
Sorenson Media was established in December 1995 to address market demand for rich online media content by developing innovative, cost-effective video encoding technologycitation needed that significantly reduced bandwidth requirements while preserving the highest video quality.citation needed Originally called Sorenson Vision, the company developed technology licensed and ultimately acquired from Utah State University. The company first unveiled its “codec” (compression and decompression tool) at a developer’s preview at MacWorld Expo in January 1997.
Sorenson Media has been instrumental in bringing Internet video to QuickTime and associated applications on the Windows and Macintosh platforms and due to their licensing agreement with Apple were committed to improving the online video experience for content creators, managers and consumers alike. Since its release, Sorenson Media’s video encoding technology has been used in Apple Computer's trailers web site and clip for studios such as Disney, Lucas Film, MGM and Paramount and iTunes music videos before the switch to the industry standard H.264 format.
Sorenson Media is led by chairman and founder James Lee Sorenson, who has built and led successful ventures in industries ranging from Internet video and telecommunication services to private equity, medical devices, large-scale investment and real estate developmentcitation needed, and by president and CEO Peter Csathy, a 20-year digital media veteran who has helped drive the success of high-growth digital media companies, including SightSpeed and Musicmatch.citation needed
- Sorenson Video - Apple bundled QuickTime 3 components for decoding and basic encoding
- Sorenson Video Pro - Apple distributed, full featured, two-pass VBR QuickTime developer encoding component1
- Sorenson MPEG-1/2
- Sorenson MPEG-4 Part 2
- Sorenson H.2642
- Sorenson Squeeze3 - a Windows and Macintosh full featured encoding application
- Sorenson 3604 - an online video platform (OVP)
- Squeeze Server - a server-based live encoding application
This encoding includes both Sorenson Video Quantization products for versions one and two with a FourCC of SVQ1.
Version one first appeared with the release of QuickTime 3 on March 30, 1998.
The compatible version two was released with QuickTime 4 on March 11, 1999, which mainly included minor improvements and optimizations to the Developer Edition of the encoder, so encoded movies would be backwards compatible with the QuickTime 3 release.
Version two was given wide exposure from the release of the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace on March 11, 1999.
This completely different version was released with QuickTime 5.0.2 on July 1, 2001. It was available exclusively for QuickTime.56 Apple QuickTime later focused on other compression formats and moved Sorenson Video 3 to a separate group called "legacy encoders".7
This incompatible version of a H.263 encoding is the Sorenson Spark product for use in the Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash Video stream and SWF containers with an unofficial FFmpeg FourCC of FLV1 and Adobe frame identifiers of 0x21, 0x22 and 0x23.
As Apple began to embrace MPEG-4 and move away from other proprietary codecs, Sorenson Media licensed a new video codec to Macromedia as Sorenson Spark (Sorenson H.263), released with Macromedia Flash 6/MX on March 4, 2002.910 Sorenson Spark is the required video compression format for Flash Player 6 and 7.
Macromedia later tried to find a better video codec. Starting with Flash Player 8 (released in September 2005), the preferred video codec is VP6.1112 The Sorenson Spark can be still used in the Adobe Flash CS4 Professional (2008) for Flash Video FLV files as one of three video compression formats (alongside H.264 and On2 VP6).11 Sorenson Spark is an older codec but it is also a widely available and compatible one, when used in Flash Video.13 According to Adobe engineer Tinic Uro, it is considered as incomplete implementation of H.263.1214
The official specifications of the codec are not public.
For a long time the only way to play back Sorenson Video was to use Apple's QuickTime Player, or the MPlayer for Unix/Linux, which in turn piggy-backed DLL-files extracted from Apple's player for Microsoft Windows.
Changes for version two were only made to the encoder, not to the compression format. This format uses a Y'CbCr 4:1:0 color space, which means every block of nine pixels share the same color components, which can cause color bleeding across pixels. This was solved in version 3 and the Spark version which both use the more common Y'CbCr 4:2:0 color space, Encoding of SVQ1 was added in 0.4.9-pre1.15
According to an anonymous developer16 of FFmpeg, reverse engineering of the SVQ3 codec (Sorenson Video 3) revealed it as a tweaked version of H.264.17 (It is considered to be based on an early H.264 draft.18) The same developer also added support for this codec to FFmpeg, making native playback possible on all platforms supported by FFmpeg. FFmpeg supports decoding of "Sorenson Vector Quantizer 3" (fourcc SVQ3) and Sorenson Vector Quantizer 1 (fourcc SVQ1) starting with version 0.4.7, released in 2003.19
The next version of FFmpeg in 2003 also added encoding/decoding of Sorenson H.263 used in Flash.20
The Sorenson Spark is sometimes defined as "almost H.263" or as "an incomplete implementation of H.263".1214 These compression formats differ mostly in header structure and ranges of the coefficients.17 This means Sorenson Spark can be converted without the need for re-compression to the more common MPEG-4 structure, which allows for embedded coefficient tables.
- Terran Interactive, Inc. (1998) Codec Central - Sorenson Video, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Squeeze, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- "Sorenson Squeeze CrunchBase Profile". Retrieved 2011-03-08.
- "Sorenson 360 CrunchBase Profile". Retrieved 2011-03-08.
- Sorenson Media (2001-07-02) Sorenson Media Announces the Availability of Sorenson Video 3 Exclusively for QuickTime, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Apple (2000-10-10) Apple Releases QuickTime 5 and QuickTime Streaming Server 3 Public Previews, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Apple Mailing Lists - batch export: where is sorenson ?, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Sorenson Media SV3 Pro Codec, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Adobe (2002-03-04) Macromedia - Press room : Macromedia and Sorenson Media Bring Video to Macromedia Flash Content and Applications
- Adobe LiveDocs About the Sorenson Spark codec, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Documentation - Digital video and Flash, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Kaourantin.net (2005-08-13) The quest for a new video codec in Flash 8, Retrieved on 2009-08-10
- Sorenson Media Difference Between Flash 6 and Flash 8 video, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- "Sorenson Spark". MultimediaWiki. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- FFmpeg.org FFMpeg General Documentation - Video Codecs, Retrieved on 2009-08-09
- Deconstructing H.264/AVC on DrunkenBlog, July 28, 2004.
- Benjamin Larsson (2009-03-17). "h263-svq3 optimizations". FFmpeg-devel mailing list. http://lists.mplayerhq.hu/pipermail/ffmpeg-devel/2009-March/065410.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- MultimediaWiki. "Sorenson Video 3". Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- FFmpeg Changelog, Retrieved on 2009-08-10
- FFmpeg.org (2003) FFmpeg 0.4.8 Documentation - Video Codecs, Retrieved on 2009-08-10
- Sorenson Video Codec, Version 3 - format description by the Library of Congress
- Sorenson Video 1 - MultimediaWiki
- Sorenson Video 3 - MultimediaWiki
- Sorenson Spark - MultimediaWiki