Fraunhofer HHI, the German company that developed the H.264, H.265, and MP3 coding formats that we use every day unveiled a new video encoding standard that will be a game-changer for streaming content.
The new format, aptly named H.266 or better still Versatile Video Coding (VVC) has me excited. It improves compression and reduces data requirements by around 50% compared to HEVC. This is great since HEVC was also around 50% more efficient than H.264 and the latter is still widely adopted.
The company says VVC was created ultra high resolution in mind. Streaming 4K content is not new and 8K streaming has started gathering steam and this codec will allow one to stream such high resolution video for a fraction of the data that HEVC used.
HEVC requires 10GB of data to transmit a 90 min 4k video but with H.266/VVC, you’ll only need 5GB to achieve the same quality.
In addition to the efficient transmission and storage of all video resolutions from SD upto 8K, VVC will also support HDR video, omnidirectional 360° video as well as all types of moving images.
This technology is very important as we are already deep into the streaming age. Millions of people around the world use streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showmax, YouTube and others. Currently, compressed video data makes up for 80% of global internet traffic so this technology will reduce the strain on the infrastructure. It will also mean that we will get higher quality for the same bitrate which is a win-win situation in my book.
Sadly, there is no software standard for VCC encoding and decoding yet but the company says they will deliver one this autumn. “The new chips required for the use of H.266/VVC such as those in mobile devices are currently being designed,” the company said. This means it will take some time to see this technology be implemented widely but i’m particularly excited about it.