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ITU Approves H.265 Video Encoding Standard

January 29, 2013

More efficient video coding is a good thing for users of mobile networks, as well as for application providers and access providers, as less bandwidth consumption makes it more likely the feature will be used, more likely the experience will be positive, the more likely business models can be built around video – while allowing access providers to scale the investment in their networks more gracefully.

H.265, for example, is said to preserve image quality while coding at twice the efficiency of H.264, which is widely used to encode and deliver video.

And H.265 has gotten a boost, being accepted by the International Telecommunications Union as an approved standard.

The H.264 format, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC (for Advanced Video Coding), was created to support video encoding that would work across devices and networks.

That’s one reason Google, YouTube, Adobe and Apple iTunes all supported the format.

The intention behind H.264 was to provide good video quality at substantially lower bit rates than previous standards. An additional goal was to provide enough flexibility to allow the standard to be applied to a wide variety of applications on a wide variety of networks and systems.

H.265 will do even better, one might argue, given the common consumption of video on new classes of devices, including tablets.

Known informally as ‘High Efficiency Video Coding’ (HEVC) and a successor to the H.264 codec that Apple and other industry heavy-weights support, H.265 should be widely used. In fact, more than 80 percent of Web video is now encoded with H.264.

H.265 is said to be “future-proofed to support the next decade of video” in that it is tailored to ultra high-resolution content without putting too much of a burden on network bandwidth.

Drafted in August of 2012, H.265 supports resolutions up to 7680-by-4320, enough for the new Ultra HD (4K and 8K) resolutions. Half of all network traffic is video, but that should go up to as much as 90 percent of all network traffic by 2015.

Work is also underway to develop an extension of H.265 for stereoscopic and 3D video coding. 

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Edited by Braden Becker