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New compression standard could be in commercial products as early as next year

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) met recently to issue a draft international standard of a new video compression format offering twice the performance of current standards. The new video compression format is called High Efficiency Video Coating or HEVC. The new H.265 compression codec is roughly twice as effective as the current H.264/AVC standard.
“There’s a lot of industry interest in this because it means you can halve the bit rate and still achieve the same visual quality, or double the number of television channels with the same bandwidth, which will have an enormous impact on the industry,” says Per Fröjdh, Manager for Visual Technology at Ericsson Research, Group Function Technology, who organized the event as Chairman of the Swedish MPEG delegation.
H.265 could usher in ultra high definition television with significantly more clarity than the 1080p we have today. The new compression format will also significantly reduce the bandwidth required for streaming video on mobile networks where wireless spectrum is at a premium. The format will pave the way for wireless carriers to offer more video services within the confines of their available spectrum.
“Video accounts for the vast majority of all data sent over networks, and that proportion is increasing: by 2015, it is predicted to account for 90 percent of all network traffic,” Fröjdh says.
He believes that the HEVC format discussed during the meeting in Stockholm could find its way into commercial products as early as 2013.
“It will take time before it’s launched for a TV service, but adoption is much quicker in the mobile area, and we’ll probably see the first services for mobile use cases next year,” Fröjdh added.

Source: Ericsson

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Consumer demand?
By danjw1 on 8/16/2012 11:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
While I know that the electronics manufacturers all want to push consumers to upgrade there hardware as often as possible, I don't know consumers really want higher resolution. Heck, Blu-ray adoption is still way behind DVD. So, why does the industry feel like consumers want higher resolutions? I doubt many consumers will be able to tell the difference.

Don't get me wrong, I like the additional compression capability. I just don't see that reasoning of increased resolution particularly compelling.

RE: Consumer demand?
By FITCamaro on 8/16/2012 1:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I don't see the world moving beyond 1080p for at least a decade.

RE: Consumer demand?
By hubb1e on 8/16/2012 2:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't even see any mass adoption beyond 1080p in 20 years. I've got an 80" TV and the picture with 1080p is very good. Will people really go bigger than 80" on a normal basis? There was a big improvement in going from 480i to 1080i as a broadcast format. Everyone could see the benefit once they put it in their house. But with 1080p we've hit the limit of human vision unless you're building a whole wall out of a TV.

RE: Consumer demand?
By augiem on 8/16/2012 2:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
While I'd love an 80" TV, 1080p is not anywhere close to sharp on a screen that big. If anything, it looks about like SDTV did on a 30" screen. My 24" monitor just slightly higher res than your 80" TV. And of course we now have the Mac book with an even higher res screen, but that's just be extravagant as I didn't see any benefit while using it on a panel that small.

I agree adoption of anything bigger like 4K would take forever, but to say there would be no benefit at screen sizes like yours isn't accurate.

RE: Consumer demand?
By Guspaz on 8/16/2012 5:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
I've got a 1080p projector on an 80" screen in my apartment. Your head sits about 8 feet from the screen. The resolution is more than sufficient for sharp detail. There might be a benefit to 4k video at that size/distance, but there comes a point of diminishing returns where the source material doesn't benefit.

Remember, the vast majority of movie theatres these days use 2K projectors (similar to 1080p) on ginormous screens, and nobody really notices the difference if they see something in the few theatres that use 4K projectors.

RE: Consumer demand?
By Moishe on 8/17/2012 11:07:56 AM , Rating: 2
You're wrong.

I have a 120" projection setup (DLP) and I have a 27" tube TV. The difference is significant.

1080p HD is a big improvement over SD and like the previous poster says, the sizes it enables are large enough that most users will not outgrow the options.

RE: Consumer demand?
By Netscorer on 8/16/2012 3:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
Damn you,

and I thought my 65'' TV was huge.

I totally agree with you. 1080P is more then enough for home presentation. I would even dare to say that 720P is absolutely fine for most video, maybe with sport being an exception. On my 65'' screen sitting 8 feet away from TV, I can never see any difference in resolution between quality encoded 720P stream and Blu-Ray 1080P content. I am not saying there is no difference, as Blu-Ray can present much better colors and contrast comparing to 20 times smaller 720P encode. But when it comes to resolution, for movies 720P resolves just fine. You don't want to see any wrinkle on the actor's face anyway.

RE: Consumer demand?
By Jeffk464 on 8/16/2012 3:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm waiting for a $1,500 100" OLED TV. :)

RE: Consumer demand?
By Jeffk464 on 8/16/2012 4:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
I've heard that 4K has a stunningly good picture, so the human eye must be able to see the improvement. But yeah, heard its more important past 75" screens.

RE: Consumer demand?
By Guspaz on 8/16/2012 5:33:33 PM , Rating: 3
This isn't about pushing resolutions higher; there's no arbitrary resolution limit on h.264 (the highest level tops out at 4k but that's just the highest resolution defined in a level, not a technical limitation). This is all about doing the same thing with less bandwidth, and that is something that IS at a premium.

Example: Say streaming 720p video to my iPad required 3.6 megabits per second, and I've got a 6GB data cap. That gets me 230 minutes of Netflix streaming per month.

But if I can suddenly get the same quality for half the bitrate, now my mobile plan enables me to stream 460 minutes of Netflix per month.

It's not just that, it's also about improving efficiencies for people like Netflix so that they can afford to lower prices, or license more content. And for places where you have to store video, like on a bluray, an updated bluray standard supporting h.265 could enable you to fit more content on a disc.

Current video Blu-Ray discs are 25 or 50 gigabytes, depending on if they're single or dual layer. Now imagine a new version of the bluray spec using BD-XL and h.265... BD-XL takes that up to 128 gigabytes per disc, and h.265 would raise that to an effective 256 gigabytes... Five times the capacity, which would certainly be more convenient. You could get an entire television season on a single bluray disc.

Another advantage on the network side of things is peer to peer video streaming like what BitTorrent Live is trying to do. The big limitation there in terms of the quality you can achieve is the average upstream capacity in the swarm, which dictates your target bitrate. But if you can suddenly get double the quality out of that bitrate, that's going to make it a much better experience.

RE: Consumer demand?
By someguy123 on 8/16/2012 5:59:17 PM , Rating: 2
Improved codec efficiency is mostly good for the industry. For consumers it means better video quality over the same amount of bandwidth, less data being eaten on their wireless plans, or higher fidelity. I don't think the argument that people "don't want" better looking video holds true at all considering current HD adoption. The only thing holding people back from HD was the price. 3D is a different story considering it actually reduces visual quality for the sake of cardboard cutouts.

RE: Consumer demand?
By Moishe on 8/17/2012 11:11:55 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed that more is better, almost always. What slows adoption is the cost benefit for consumers. As prices drop, more people will buy.

If they can encode video to half the size with the same quality, we'll all be better off.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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