Video Networks has completed the migration of channels on its HomeChoice broadband television service in London to MPEG-4, in what is believed to be a world first.

All broadcast channels are now being delivered using the MPEG-4 AVC compression scheme, also known as H.264, making HomeChoice the world’s first revenue-generating broadcast television service delivered exclusively using an advanced compression technology.

Harmonic, which provides the encoders for the HomeChoice service, said that it validates the promise of MPEG-4 AVC and the power of IPTV – internet protocol television.

Video Networks Limited first deployed Harmonic DiviCom MV 100 encoders in early 2004, allowing them to support MPEG-2 initially, and then subsequently move to the more efficient MPEG-4 AVC compression scheme as a software upgrade.

The phased migration of channels has now been completed, and informitv can report that it appears to address previous picture quality issues with the service, bringing it subjectively in line with other digital platforms.

The greater compression available with MPEG-4 will also allow Video Networks to extend its service reach over longer broadband telephone lines.

“The completion of our migration to MPEG-4 for the delivery of our broadcast channels is an important milestone for Video Networks,” said Roger Lynch, chairman and chief executive of Video Networks. “We are particularly proud to be the first company in the world to complete the MPEG-4 migration in broadcast.”

Video Networks has also successfully evaluated new ADSL2+ broadband technology, which can provide connections of up to 24Mbps. This would allow multiple video streams to be delivered over a single connection, and even enable high-definition television services.

“We see the benefit of advanced encoding in MPEG-4, combined with European service providers’ migration to ADSL2+ enabling the sector to provide HDTV in the very near future,” said Roger Lynch.

“Video Networks’ move to MPEG-4 AVC, a historic event that will change the dynamics of the broadband TV industry, provides a strong technology platform for continued service innovation and business growth,” said Patrick Harshman of Harmonic.