All the noise around fiber to the home might have drowned out the announcements made by QBit, a Bethesda, MD.-start-up that claims to have developed technology that allows phone companies to transmit HDTV signals over copper. The company is backed by former Apple CEO John Sculley. Apparently the company has come up new compression techniques, which is drawing skepticism from industry insiders and experts. The company claims it can now do 10-to-1 lossless compression and will soon be able to do 32-to-1 compress. What that essentially means, an HDTV signal stream which needs about 20 megabits per second to stream, will essentially take 2 megabits per second, good enough to send over a 6 megabit ADSL signal. That reduces the need for deploying expensive fiber.
QBit calls its compression technique Z-Image Lossless Image Compression, which means they can stream DVD quality video without a problem. The company will introduce Z Audio, which can be used for any audio technology, including cellular phones, .WAV files or MP3 players reports Telephony. “Our audio codec technology, which is about a month behind the Z image, outperforms all of the top 10 industry codecs that are out there today by about 200%,” said Chief executive Dan Kilbank.
“It is an amazing feat to create the Qbit transform, because it’s lossless, but to be able to implement the Qbit form in a low-cost PC or digital signal processor, so that it is something that would be economically viable is a whole different challenge, and that’s what they’ve done,” Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst with InStat, and a longtime watcher of QBit told Telephony. Others are not buying it. “It is curious that the Qbit method has never been exposed to the scientific and engineering community for critical evaluation,” Prof. William A. Pearlman, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute told Barron’s. “I have never seen a peer-reviewed journal article or conference paper on the method.” Kilbank told Barron’s: “We’ve leapfrogged industry efforts by 15 years.” The company is working with NASA and expects the government agency to validate its claims. Lets see if it all really pans out.