H.264, a new video compression standard (also called MPEG-4 part 10) under development by ISO, ITU and the MPEG standard bodies, is starting to make its way into public view. Tandberg said it has begun demonstrations of the new standard within its line of new conferencing gear, claiming it can get the same quality video at 384K bit\/sec that it does at 768K bit\/sec with the current H.263 standard. The benefits are obvious in terms of reduced bandwidth requirements and higher quality video.Tom Jacobs, president of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA), mention H.264 when I spoke with him the other day:"This is a a really excellent technology. In the horse race of whose format is better, the case has been made that proprietary stuff moves a little quicker than standards, but this is going to wipe the smile off two Washington-based companies."Though the H.264 specification has yet to ratified, a task that should be complete by the middle of this year, Jacobs says it has ability to transfer MPEG-2 quality video a DSL speeds, something that could push the video-on-demand Holy Grail much closer to mainstream reality.