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What Is KLV - The Data Encoding Standard

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 24, 2024 • Filed to: Knowledge Center • Proven solutions

Video is pervasive in every stream, ranging from media and entertainment to defense and agriculture. No matter with which tool you capture video, the environment in which it is captured can give invaluable information. It includes sensor data, geolocation, instrument readings, and more.

Historically, Intelligence organizations have used Key-Length-Value (KLV) to carry important information with high-definition video. In addition to military and defense, KLV videos are also popular in day-to-day life.

Being able to enjoy a scene in real-time, the current streaming video has a wealth of metadata describing each scene. Examples of metadata are sensor elevation, camera angle, geographic bounding coordinates, or camera focal length.

Now, these metadata synchronize with each video frame, and they can be updated for each frame every few seconds. The metadata that adjusts the video frame every second is presented as Key Length Value (KLV) data.

Let's find out more about KLV!

Part 1. What Is KLV

Are you wondering what is KLV? Well, KLV stands for Key-Length-Value, and it is an efficient way of storing binary data within a stream or other important data. Basically, it is a data encoding standard used to embed information or data in video feeds.

In this, the items are encoded into Key-Length-Value triplets, where the key is for data, length is for the data's length, and value is specified data itself.

 KLV elements

Although there are many ways to use metadata, KLV triplets are one of the effective and extensible methods. To your knowledge, the KLV data standard is approved by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. It also has been adopted by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Motion Imagery Standards Board (MISB).

Why KLV?

To know or to understand why to opt for KLV, let focus on the problem and how KLV is the solution to it!


Most of the communication channels have bandwidth limitations. Therefore, efficient methods of data traveling over a channel with limited bandwidth can be robust to both losses as well as corruption. Another complication is the remote platform.

Different platforms represent primitive data in different forms. For example, a big-endian integer will have a different value on a little-endian machine. Similar issues exist for high-quality videos.


To represent data in motion, we need an encoding technique. This is where KLV comes in handy. KLV is an encoding technique that represents data in motion. Three main approaches to transfer data are unstructured, structured, and semistructured.

When talking about unstructured data, then free text falls in this category. And, this type of data is very difficult for systems to process.

On the other hand, structured data have a well-defined structure as well as meaning. An example of this type of data is National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF).

The combination of structure and flexibility gives rise to semistructured data, which ideal for large-scale distributed processing systems. And, Key-Length-Value (KLV), is another approach to semistructured data.

The management and encoding techniques of KLV can be optimized further by reducing or eliminating the key and length fields.

Part 2. What Are Key Elements of KLV

Basically, KLV has three main data elements: key, length, and value.

Key: The key helps identify the data, such as sensor latitude. At its core, the key is a Universal Label (UL). This unique 16-byte value defines the element. This unique UL plays a major role in defining the structure of the element and the meaning of data.

For instance, the UL 06.0E.2B. tells the parser that the MISB registry defines this data element in the UNIX Time Stamp element. While all KLV elements should map to a UL, the key does not need to be a UL.

KLV coding protocol shall use the UL according to SMPTE 298M. Each word is coded according to the basic encoding rules (BER) for encoding an object identifier value specified in ISO/IEC 8825-1. Each word should be limited to the range 0×00 to 0×7F, and a single octet should represent it.

Length: This element expresses the data length in terms of bytes. The length value tells the length in bytes in the value part. It usually tends to be OID encoded, which helps minimize its size. You can also use alternative encoding techniques.

When it comes to the KLV coding protocol, the length field's value should be encoded with the use of the basic encoding rules (BER) for short-term or long-term encoding of length octets mentioned in ISO/IEC 8825-1.

This self-contained value length encoding method allows for efficient and effective parsing of KLV encoded data. When you apply the KLV coding protocol to KLV coded units, the length field for each separate unit may adopt a unique method. This method is typically defined by the coding standards for that group of units.

Value: It is a numeric or character set that represents the actual data itself. Or, we can say that it is a sequence of length bytes of data. It is typically interpreted according to the UL value.

Undoubtedly, there are no limitations in the standard on the maximum octets in the data value length field. However, large data value lengths can be defined from the first octet in the BER long-form length encoding.

In some particular operations, it may seem impractical to establish the value field's length. One such case is an incoming data stream assigned with a key and a length field in the beginning. In such situations, the value of the length shall not be defined until the stream's termination

Part 3. How to Repair Corrupt KLV Video

If your KLV videos get corrupt and unplayable, then you can use Wondershare Repairit. It is an amazing tool that can repair KLV videos greatly and in few clicks.

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Learn how to repair KLV videos with the Video-Tutorial below:

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Final words

We hope that you have learned a lot about KLV videos and KLV technology. So, if you want to listen to the original audio, then KLV video is a great option for you. The best part is that you can repair KLV videos easily with Wondershare Repairit.

Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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