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Crest vid test flies high

Crest National Videotape & Film Laboratories in Hollywood has signed a multiyear deal to provide video compression services for Interactive Flight Technologies’ video-on-demand system.

Currently being tested by Alitalia airlines, the system allows individual airline passengers to select from a menu of 20 movies or play video games, including casino-type games.

The MPEG (motion picture experts group) compression techniques developed by Crest allow IFT to squeeze pictures and sound through a digital system on the airliner. According to John M. Walker, Crest’s exec VP of sales and marketing, the video is compressed at a rate of about 170:1.

Despite the high compression rate, Crest maintains that the end result is still high quality. “It’s not a matter of throwing out frames, but it’s bits of information,” said Walker. “We just put through the information that changes from frame to frame so there’s no jerkiness.”

Test compression has been performed on “Rob Roy,” “Immortal Beloved,” “Gone With the Wind” and other pics.

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