New H.265 Video Standard to Deliver Higher Quality, More Efficient Compression
August 16, 2012 9:08 AM
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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.
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RE: Consumer demand?
8/16/2012 5:33:33 PM
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.
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