| ||Definition:|| ||Recognizing the need for providing ubiquitous video services using the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), CCITT (International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee) Study Group XV established a Specialist Group on Coding for Visual Telephony in 1984 with the objective of recommending a video coding standard for transmission at m x 384 kbit/s (m=1,2,..., 5). Later in the study period after new discoveries in video coding techniques, it became clear that a single standard, p x 64 kbit/s (p = 1,2,..., 30), can cover the entire isdn channel capacity. After more than five years of intensive deliberation, CCITT Recommendation H.261, Video Codec for Audiovisual Services at p x 64 kbit/s, was completed and approved in December 1990. A slightly modified version of this Recommendation was also adopted for use in North America.
The intended applications of this international standard are for videophone and videoconferencing. Therefore, the recommended video coding algorithm has to be able to operate in real time with minimum delay. For p = 1 or 2, due to severely limited available bit rate, only desktop face-to-face visual communication (often referred to as videophone) is appropriate. For p>=6, due to the additional available bit rate, more complex pictures can be transmitted with better quality. This is, therefore, more suitable for videoconferencing.|