H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, finished in May, 2003, is now a well-established video-coding standard, and derivative
standardization projects are beginning to emerge based on it. The first of these is the so-called Scalable Video Coding
(SVC) project. Launched within MPEG about the time that AVC was finishing, it was later moved in 2005 to the Joint
Video Team (JVT); the JVT is a joint committee of video experts set up by ISO/IEC MPEG and ITU-T/VCEG back in
2001 to develop AVC. The SVC project aims to develop a fully scalable video codec based on the AVC codec as its
backbone. While several previous scalable codecs have already been standardized before (i.e., in MPEG-2, H.263,
MPEG-4), each has seen barriers to deployment, mainly based on inadequate performance against single-rate coding.
SVC, due out in 2007, appears on the brink of overcoming those barriers to finally bring scalable coding to fruition. This
paper aims at an elementary, general account of its current status, which seems unavailable in the literature.