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The New FourCC Authority?

April 28th, 2006 by Multimedia Mike

One of my original motivations which led to the creation of the MultimediaWiki was to expand on the knowledge enumerated at fourcc.org, heretofore the internet’s foremost authority on the curious multimedia concept known as the four-character code (FourCC). With the latest update of the MediaWiki software, I find that I am able to categorize FourCC redirect pages. What this means to the Wiki lay person is that I can use the Wiki to automatically maintain a list of all known video FourCCs, which I have done. I have done the same for audio FourCCs, though the list is not as extensive (mostly applies to QuickTime and Real codecs). I hope to give the same treatment to Microsoft 16-bit audio IDs soon.

So far, I have only catalogued the FourCCs and codecs that I can prove exist, either because we have samples, codecs, or both that correspond to the codec. The fourcc.org list contains dozens of FourCCs for which I can find no samples or codecs. It’s reasonable to believe that they existed, perhaps at the dawn of the consumer multimedia era. It also could be that certain FourCCs were formally registered with Microsoft by ambitious companies that were never able to release their multimedia programs that would have generated the corresponding data.

What to do about these? I don’t wish categorize them along with the provable FourCCs. I may create a different page or category for these strays until they can be claimed either by the discovery of actual media samples in the wild or by codecs (source or binary, coders or decoders) that can handle the data.

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