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High Efficiency Video Coding standard H.265 is approved

by Mark Tyson on 28 January 2013, 10:15

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has agreed on the specifications for the successor to the “PrimeTime Emmy award winning” ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC codec. The new H.265 codec, sometimes known informally as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), will deliver video on a par with its predecessor at half the bit rate.

The new video format is expected to bring high quality streaming; even to slower, less capacious and more congested networks. It could be a boon to smartphone users with a data cap and also enable very high quality streaming over broadband. Using the new H.265 codec content providers will be able to provide 4K streams using the same bandwidth as 1080p video streaming uses today.

The previous H.264 codec is widely supported by computers, smart connected devices and audio/visual hardware. The new HEVC H.265 codec should become the new standard and will “provide a flexible, reliable and robust solution, future-proofed to support the next decade of video. The new standard is designed to take account of advancing screen resolutions and is expected to be phased in as high-end products and services outgrow the limits of current network and display technology,” according to the ITU press release.

What’s not to like about a new codec which makes things faster to steam/download with the potential for better quality? I suffer from rural broadband with a data cap right now so HEVC could improve things for me in internet streaming/downloading terms. Also I hope my Humax Foxsat HDR FreeSat+ box will get upgraded firmware to make use of the new codec.

HEXUS Forums :: 15 Comments

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Looks promising.

Maybe Lovefilm can adopt it soon, as quality is poor even on my 20 meg broad band
Whats not to like? 1/2 the bandwidth probably means 2ce the processing power required
Whats not to like? 1/2 the bandwidth probably means 2ce the processing power required
Sometimes. Though sometimes smarter happens as well. In this case processing power has more than doubled since .264 while average internet bandwidth probably hasn't, so it's a move in the right direction and net gain.
Oh yeah im not denying its a move int he right direction, i just think its worth noting that there is a downside.
I think that TechCrunch article is misleading. It's very vague when it says “4K-like streams at about the same file size as today’s 1080p videos”. 4K-like? So not 4K, but higher than 1080p. “About the same file size”? About? So not quite the same, probably a bit higher? Combine the two and you don't really have a straight answer.

4K has 4x the pixels as 1080p, so it reasonably requires about 4x the bandwidth (or file-size) as 1080p. If HEVC is able to produce the same quality at half of the bandwidth, then really a 4K stream in HEVC will still use twice the bandwidth of a 1080p stream at h.264.