H.265 video format approved

New video format, H.265, to ease Internet bandwidth burden

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has approved a new video coding standard known affectionately as H.265, and informally as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), that will “considerably ease the burden” on global networks.

H.265 is set to succeed the current global video compression standard H.264, whose adoption rate has grown rapidly since the release of the original iPad. In three years, H.264, delivered using HTML5’s native video capabilities, has soared from less the 10% adoption to now accounting for over 80% of all web video.

It’s estimated that streaming video accounts for more than half of all bandwidth usage on the Internet, with the likes of Hulu, Netflix and YouTube the biggest offenders.

H.265, the successor of the current standard, promises to “considerably ease” Internet bandwidth burden as it needs only half the bitrate of H.264. This will enable streaming of high-definition video content over low-bandwidth connections, like mobile networks and bandwidth-constrained networks in developing countries. H.265 could also deliver super high-definition video, or 4K streaming, over 20-30 Mbps minimum broadband connections.

As ITU describe it, H.265 will “unleash a new phase of innovation in video production spanning the whole ICT spectrum, from mobile devices through to Ultra-High Definition TV”.

H.265 won’t see immediate adoption though. TechCrunch report that we could see the first software-based encoders capable of playing H.265 video by the end of 2013. However, for H.265 to become widely adopted it must be embedded into device chips and hardware (like smartphones). Summer 2014 is when we’ll most likely see the first of such devices come to market.

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