Fraunhofer’s new H.266 codec guarantees to cut the cost of streaming 4K movie in half


The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, the particular electrical engineering and computer technology division of the esteemed German analysis organization, on Tuesday announced VVC, a new video codec standard that promises to bring about 50 percent efficiency gains within streaming video compression.

The codec’s full name is H.266/Versatile Video Coding, as Fraunhofer states it’s designed to be a successor towards the industry-standard H.264/Advanced Video Code (AVC) and H.265/High Performance Video Coding (HEVC) formats that will combined make up about 90 % of global digital video transmitting and compression on the particular market today. While HEVC was first released in 2013, the codec has proved controversial because of aggressive patent disputes from its different stakeholders. That’s why AVC, the precursor to HEVC, still remains the greater dominant standard, despite first launching back in 2003.

But Fraunhofer says VVC could be a path ahead for the industry, as almost every main hardware and software company happens to be tied up in a messy patent royals system that dictates how much different stakeholders must pay to use various compression and transmission standards intended for devices, websites, and apps. Along with VVC, Fraunhofer says you can get some thing far better than AVC and HEVC without any of the licensing headaches.

“Through a reduction of data requirements, H.266/VVC makes video transmission in mobile networks (where data capacity is limited) more efficient. For instance, the previous standard H.265/HEVC requires 10 gigabytes of data to transmit a 90-min UHD video,” says Fraunhofer’s press release. “With this new technology, only 5 gigabytes of data are required to achieve the same quality. Because H.266/VVC was developed with ultra-high-resolution video content in mind, the new standard is particularly beneficial when streaming 4K or 8K videos on a flat screen TV. Furthermore, H.266/VVC is ideal for all types of moving images: from high-resolution 360° video panoramas to screen sharing contents.”

Fraunhofer’s mother or father organization — the Fraunhofer Community, which is comprised of many smaller institutes like Fraunhofer HHI and others — is best known in the world of digital press standards as the creator of the MP3 FORMAT. It also contributed heavily to the development of L.264 and H.265. So the research organization assurance has a storied and successful background working in data compression. But Fraunhofer does not mention in its press release the presence of AV1, an open-source and royalty-free competitor to the HEVC standard developed by the Open Media Alliance, including all five major US technology giants after Apple signed on in early 2018. AV1 and its precursor, VP9, are integral for loading 4K content from platforms such as YouTube, so it’s likely these types of standards will continue to compete for a long time to come.

It’s not clear as to what extent AV1, AVC, HEVC, plus VVC will all coexist later on, but Fraunhofer claims the Mass media Coding Industry Forum — the particular industry consortium to which it belongs alongside Apple, Sony, among others — is currently working toward nick designs to support VVC at the equipment level. “This autumn Fraunhofer HHI will publish the first software (for both encoder and decoder) to support H.266/VVC,” Thomas Schierl, mind of the Video Coding and Analytics department at Fraunhofer HHI, stated in a statement.



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