MPEG H.265 Video Codec to Make Ultra High-Definition Video Viable

High Efficiency Video Coding Specification to Reduce Bandwidth Needed for HD Video

by Anton Shilov
08/16/2012 | 08:01 AM

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) has approved and issued a draft standard for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, also known as H.265 and MPEG-H part 2). This format will enable compression levels roughly twice as high as the current H.264/AVC standard, which will open the doors to ultra-high definition video and television and will slash capacities and bandwidth needed for full-HD by two times, which will enable HD on mobile devices.

 

"There is 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, the chairman of the Swedish MPEG delegation.

The HEVC standard is supported by tens of companies from telecom, computer, TV and consumer electronics industries. The availability of a new compression format is set to reduce bandwidth, particularly in mobile networks where spectrum is expensive, paves the way for service providers to launch more video services with the currently available spectrum. According to market research, 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% of all network traffic.

The HEVC/H.265 format supports maximum resolution of 7680*4320 and therefore can support both incoming quad-FHD (3840*2160, QFHD or 4K) as well even ultra high-definition (7680*4320, UHD, UHDTV or Super Hi-Vision [SHV]) video. Considering that 4K is nearing, it is likely that HEVC will be the codec to use in order to encode QFHD videos, whereas for 8K something even more advanced will probably be introduced as it is many years away.


Demonstration of 7680*4320 UHDTV with 22.2 multichannel sound using 85" LCD at ITU HQ by ITU staff and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp). Both screens are the only 2 prototypes are they have been presented to the press.

"MPEG has a big impact on the industry and on consumer electronics. On the video side, almost all digital terrestrial, satellite and cable TV services rely on video codecs standardized by MPEG. When you buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc, the compression format also uses MPEG standards," added Mr. Fröjdh.

Ericsson Research also believes that the HEVC format discussed by MPEG at a meeting in Stockholm could be launched in commercial products as early as in 2013. Another area where visual technology team is working with MPEG is a new kind of 3D video compression format, which would enable a new standard for 3D video systems that would do away with 3D glasses. Mr. Fröjdh said the technology could be standardized by 2014.

"Future 3D technology will have more advanced displays, which will enable different views. The simpler versions of this technology will still just offer the two views we have today – left and right – without the need for glasses. But in the future, there will be many views next to each other, so you will simply move your head to the left or the right to give you a stereo impression of an object," stated the head of visual technology unit at Ericsson Research.