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Common Intermediate Format (CIF)

Definition - What does Common Intermediate Format (CIF) mean?

A common intermediate format (CIF) is a format for a new kind of color sequences for video transmission. CIF is a lower-resolution form of video encoding. It is used in closed circuit television, DVD or online video design. CIF is a choice for less 'high-res' applications, in contrast to higher-resolution megapixel results.

Techopedia explains Common Intermediate Format (CIF)

In terms of its data compression, CIF relies on a color designation that is called YCbCr. YCbCr is an alternative to the traditional RGB color standard and is used for MPEG compression in DVDs, digital TV and other technologies. The International Telecommunications Union or ITU maintains standards and technical information around the use of CIF and similar formats for YCbCr color coding. It’s important to distinguish the YCbCr system for digital color coding from the YPbPr system for analog use.

Using the CIF is a way to standardize pixel resolution for the YCbCr coloring sequence in video, and to translate color into the individual frames of a streaming video component. Experts point out that CIF and other similar designations are much lower on a scale of resolution than other formats described as megapixel. For example, in closed-circuit television camera setups, using a common intermediate format will maintain a lower resolution image than a multi-megapixel standard.

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