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Summary:

Christopher “Monty” Montgomery, better know as the lead developer of the open video format Ogg Theora, released a video that dubs itself a digital media primer for geeks today. The video is going to kick-start a monthly series that aims to make technical subjects understandable.

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Ever wonder what exactly a video container format is, or what the difference is between MPEG-1 and MPEG-2? Don’t worry, help is on its way: Christopher “Monty” Montgomery, the mastermind behind the Ogg Theora open source video format, launched a new video show today, and the first episode bills itself as “a digital media primer for geeks.”

In it, Montgomery explains the basic ideas behind digital audio and video from the sampling theorem to video frame rates. The entire episode is 30 minutes long, and full of technical details that could make anyone’s head hurt — but Montgomery  brings his own flavor of humor to the table that’s just the right mix of cheesy and geeky to keep you tuned in. Imagine a geek in a basement surrounded by strange devices with labels that say “I am not an oversized toaster”, and you get the idea.

Montgomery told me that he wants to publish one of these each month, and his expressed goal is to get developers more interested in coding for open source audio and video projects. “There are battles going on today about HTML5, browsers and video and open versus closed, so now is a pretty good time to get involved,” he says in the video. Future episodes will dive further into topics like container formats and human audio perception, he told me.

The show is co-produced by Montgomery’s own Xiph.org Foundation as well as Redhat, his current employer. The first episode can be streamed and downloaded from Xiph.org. It’s probably worth noting that the preferred streaming format is not Ogg Theora but WebM, which was open sourced earlier this year by Google. Montgomery told me back then that the WebM project is “absolutely wonderful,” and he added today that WebM just looks better than Ogg Theora at the same bit rate.

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