New Video Codec Halves File Sizes

New Video Codec Halves File Sizes

German video codec developer Fraunhofer HHI, the original creators of the MP3 file format, has announced a new compression format that promises to significant improvements in video streaming file sizes.

Poised as a successor to High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) which is the existing format adopted by the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG TVs, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – the new format which will be a variant of the ‘H.266/Versatile Video Coding (VVC)’ standard, to use its full name, is capable of reducing the data required to stream video by ‘around 50 percent’ – and amazingly, does so without sacrificing picture quality.

For example, while H.265/HEVC requires 10GBs of data to transmit a 90-minute 4K video, apparently only 5GBs of data are required with H.266/VVC to achieve the same quality. Well, Fraunhofer HHI actually uses the term “equal perceptual quality”, meaning the human eye shouldn’t be able to perceive any differences in quality.

“The new Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard can halve the file size of a 90-minute 4K video without losing quality”

This “quantum leap in coding efficiency”, as Fraunhofer HHI describes it, is the result of three years of research and development by the German organisation and its industry partners Apple, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Sony, and has been “developed with ultra-high-resolution video content in mind”, including 4K, 8K, HDR and 360-degree video material.

Like the current format of choice, H.265 HEVC standard, the new H.266/VVC variant will be subject to a license fee for manufacturers, so we’ll have to see how widely it’s adopted once released. The companies behind the standard are working on chip designs for devices, such as phones, and Fraunhofer HHI is set to publish the first software (for both encoder and decoder) to support H.266/VVC this autumn.

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