Friday, 16 November 2012

Introducing Parabola Explorer

HEVC is not a standard for the faint hearted. Its superb performance comes with a complexity burden both in terms of computational cost and in terms of algorithmic intricacy. We are thankful that the eventual retirement of interlace coding tools saved our new standard from obesity. Nevertheless, many in the industry now find themselves looking up at a formidable learning curve.

Parabola Explorer

Besides developments in the world of video compression, technology has marched on in the decade since the finalisation of HEVC’s predecessor. Everything is online: web based or in “the cloud”. There are many more free or “freemium” services and high-quality, open-source utility software frameworks. Both software development and running a business are now faster, easier and more pleasant. It is against this background that Parabola Explorer was developed and we are now delighted to announce its release. The industry might call our tool a “bitstream analyser” but a more descriptive tagline would be “a visualisation and test tool for video bitstreams”. Parabola Explorer is built upon a foundation of three principles:

Traditionally, many codec engineers develop their own software instrumentation, often text-based “log” or “trace” output from a software video encoder or decoder. Depending on their employer, they might also have access to a commercial bitstream analyser product: often extremely expensive, cumbersome tools that could fail to illuminate every aspect of bitstreams under test. The team at Parabola has experience of both approaches. We hope HEVC implementers don’t have to struggle with poor tools.

Web technologies deliver on our third principle above. Powerful, standards-compliant web browsers are everywhere. It turns out that mature standards such as XHTML, CSS, SVG and Javascript, are perfect for the visualisation of complex information. So an embedded web browser with a native back end running multiple processes and threads makes a truly awesome platform that is likely valuable in many other data analysis and visualisation applications.

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