New H.266 VCC codec up to 50% more efficient than previous standard

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in General Discussion
The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute on Tuesday announced the H.266 Versatile Video Coding codec, which will power more data-efficient video capture and transmission on future iPhones.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Apple adopted the predecessor to the new codec, H.265/HEVC, in iOS 11. The updated video codec, which was developed after years of research and standardization, will bring a number of tangible benefits to future iPhone users.

In its announcement, the Fraunhofer HHI said that H.266 will reduce data requirements by around 50% thanks to improved compression. With the previous HEVC codec, it took about 10GB of data to transmit a 90-minute ultra-high definition (UHD) video. H.266 can do that with 5GB.

The codec, as detailed in a 500-page specification, was designed from the ground up for use with 4K and 8K streaming. It'll allow users to store more high-definition video and reduce the amount of data on cellular networks.

"Because of the quantum leap in coding efficiency offered by H.266/VVC, the use of video will increase further worldwide. Moreover, the increased versatility of H.266/VVC makes its use more attractive for a broader range of applications related to the transmission and storage of video," said Benjamin Bross, the Fraunhofer HHI's Video Coding Systems head.

The H.266 represents what the Institute calls the "pinnacle" of four generations of international video coding standards. The previous codecs, H.265/HEVC and H.264/AVC, process an estimated 90% of the total global volume of video bits.

Of course, it will still take years for consumer-facing devices and platforms to support H.266. The H.265 standard was completed in January 2013, but was supported by Apple's iOS 11 in 2017.

The Fraunhofer HHI developed the H.266 standard in partnership with industry leaders like Apple, Intel, Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Sony and Microsoft. Apple, although a longtime user of the standards, signaled support for alternative codecs in 2018.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    The new codecs are here! The new codecs are here!
    SpamSandwichFileMakerFellerrazorpit
  • Reply 2 of 18
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,028member
    I wonder if Apple will be the first to implement silicon-level support in mainstream products... 
    XedScot1seanjrazorpitjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    This is news. Good news.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    XedXed Posts: 1,748member
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.

    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if Apple will be the first to implement silicon-level support in mainstream products… 
    That's a good question. It certainly seems to me that they'd be able to get this in their chips faster than others like they were able to bring 64-bit to their smartphone years before others expected it would happen
    Scot1seanjStrangeDaysrazorpitjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,777member
    Let's hope that other platforms and the web adopt this new standard faster than they did H.265, which was a very nice improvement for storage but remains (to this day!) difficult to move around thanks to webmaster and platforms that didn't strongly (or in some cases, at all) support it.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 471member
    Is all the content in the iTunes store already encoded with H.265, meaning that everything would have to be re-encoded with H.266 using masters again?  Or does Apple use H.265 to encode on-the-fly during the streaming process?  I can only imagine how long it would take to start over and make everything H.266...
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 18
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Pied Piper works! It works!
    afearisthis
  • Reply 8 of 18
    sloaahsloaah Posts: 15member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Is all the content in the iTunes store already encoded with H.265, meaning that everything would have to be re-encoded with H.266 using masters again?  Or does Apple use H.265 to encode on-the-fly during the streaming process?  I can only imagine how long it would take to start over and make everything H.266...
    I believe Prores is the required video format for upload. Apple then re-encodes to H264 and H265 depending on the connecting device - and very likely does this just once rather than each time somebody streams. 

    Re-encoding to H266 would probably be a large task if it were one person with an iMac... but I don’t thunk lack of computing power will be a problem for Apple! I suspect much of the process is automated. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 755member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Is all the content in the iTunes store already encoded with H.265, meaning that everything would have to be re-encoded with H.266 using masters again?  Or does Apple use H.265 to encode on-the-fly during the streaming process?  I can only imagine how long it would take to start over and make everything H.266...

    If they starts soon they will be ready before H.266 emerge fully for sure :smile: 
  • Reply 10 of 18
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 492member
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    It's only really good on higher quality streams, such as 4K and 8K. Savings for say 1080p will likely be much, much smaller and maybe not even cross 10%. Still nice to see improvements in encoding. Doubt this will come to the regular web though, too much fighting between Google and Apple to get encoding format marketshare.

    seanj
  • Reply 11 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,642member
    michelb76 said:
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    It's only really good on higher quality streams, such as 4K and 8K. Savings for say 1080p will likely be much, much smaller and maybe not even cross 10%. Still nice to see improvements in encoding. Doubt this will come to the regular web though, too much fighting between Google and Apple to get encoding format marketshare.

    I don' believe Apple and Google are fighting over codecs. On the contrary, Apple agreed to work with Google and others on improving and promoting the AV1 open standard.
    https://www.engadget.com/2018-03-28-google-apple-intel-av1-netflix-amazon.html
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,576member
    gatorguy said:
    michelb76 said:
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    It's only really good on higher quality streams, such as 4K and 8K. Savings for say 1080p will likely be much, much smaller and maybe not even cross 10%. Still nice to see improvements in encoding. Doubt this will come to the regular web though, too much fighting between Google and Apple to get encoding format marketshare.

    I don' believe Apple and Google are fighting over codecs. On the contrary, Apple agreed to work with Google and others on improving and promoting the AV1 open standard.
    https://www.engadget.com/2018-03-28-google-apple-intel-av1-netflix-amazon.html
    So, why is Safari unable to play YouTube 4K videos, isn't that simply conflicting codecs and doesn't this show Apple is right to use HEVC?
    michelb76watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,642member
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    michelb76 said:
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    It's only really good on higher quality streams, such as 4K and 8K. Savings for say 1080p will likely be much, much smaller and maybe not even cross 10%. Still nice to see improvements in encoding. Doubt this will come to the regular web though, too much fighting between Google and Apple to get encoding format marketshare.

    I don' believe Apple and Google are fighting over codecs. On the contrary, Apple agreed to work with Google and others on improving and promoting the AV1 open standard.
    https://www.engadget.com/2018-03-28-google-apple-intel-av1-netflix-amazon.html
    So, why is Safari unable to play YouTube 4K videos, isn't that simply conflicting codecs and doesn't this show Apple is right to use HEVC?
    I don't know that answer. Perhaps YouTube isn't using AV-1 yet, the standard that both Apple and Google agree on?
  • Reply 14 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,576member
    gatorguy said:
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    michelb76 said:
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    It's only really good on higher quality streams, such as 4K and 8K. Savings for say 1080p will likely be much, much smaller and maybe not even cross 10%. Still nice to see improvements in encoding. Doubt this will come to the regular web though, too much fighting between Google and Apple to get encoding format marketshare.

    I don' believe Apple and Google are fighting over codecs. On the contrary, Apple agreed to work with Google and others on improving and promoting the AV1 open standard.
    https://www.engadget.com/2018-03-28-google-apple-intel-av1-netflix-amazon.html
    So, why is Safari unable to play YouTube 4K videos, isn't that simply conflicting codecs and doesn't this show Apple is right to use HEVC?
    I'm Duck Ducking that ;)
    edited July 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,642member
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    michelb76 said:
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    It's only really good on higher quality streams, such as 4K and 8K. Savings for say 1080p will likely be much, much smaller and maybe not even cross 10%. Still nice to see improvements in encoding. Doubt this will come to the regular web though, too much fighting between Google and Apple to get encoding format marketshare.

    I don' believe Apple and Google are fighting over codecs. On the contrary, Apple agreed to work with Google and others on improving and promoting the AV1 open standard.
    https://www.engadget.com/2018-03-28-google-apple-intel-av1-netflix-amazon.html
    So, why is Safari unable to play YouTube 4K videos, isn't that simply conflicting codecs and doesn't this show Apple is right to use HEVC?
    I'm Duck Ducking that ;)
    LOL... Seriously tho I've not spent any time looking at how YouTube delivers content or why Safari wouldn't work with it. 
  • Reply 16 of 18
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,748member
    Cool that they've come up with an algorithm that gives such a drastic improvement for higher resolution streams. There are hardware optimizations for H.265 so I have the question around the processing load for 266. Near term it won't matter so much since it will take time to become widespread, but if you're watching a 4k movie on your MBP and the battery won't last 2 hours it kind of limits the usefulness. Processing requirements will also play a roll in Apple TV adoption.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    razmatazrazmataz Posts: 24member
    gatorguy said:
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    michelb76 said:
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    It's only really good on higher quality streams, such as 4K and 8K. Savings for say 1080p will likely be much, much smaller and maybe not even cross 10%. Still nice to see improvements in encoding. Doubt this will come to the regular web though, too much fighting between Google and Apple to get encoding format marketshare.

    I don' believe Apple and Google are fighting over codecs. On the contrary, Apple agreed to work with Google and others on improving and promoting the AV1 open standard.
    https://www.engadget.com/2018-03-28-google-apple-intel-av1-netflix-amazon.html
    So, why is Safari unable to play YouTube 4K videos, isn't that simply conflicting codecs and doesn't this show Apple is right to use HEVC?
    I'm Duck Ducking that ;)
    LOL... Seriously tho I've not spent any time looking at how YouTube delivers content or why Safari wouldn't work with it. 

    Google probably wants to avoid HVEC/H.265. It is a licensing minefield and with various patent pools + invidual players for which there there does not seem to be an agreed yearly licensing cap. Don't take my word for it, see the words of an MPEG founder: https://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/The-Future-of-HEVC-Licensing-Is-Bleak-Declares-MPEG-Chairman-122983.aspx . Just imaging if someone submarines a patent in there.The exposure to an entity like YouTube could become a nightmare.

    My understanding of YouTube is H.264 and VP9, similar with Stadia. Apple joining the royalty free AOM in 2018 and adopting AV1 seems a sensible step in the same direction. As a "founding" member no less :smile:. I think Netflix started using AV1 in some cases this year, from VP9. HEVC/H.266 has tough hill to climb.

    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 18
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,951moderator
    Xed said:
    .Another 50% compression increase is impressive. I wonder what the processing overhead will look like.
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if Apple will be the first to implement silicon-level support in mainstream products… 
    That's a good question. It certainly seems to me that they'd be able to get this in their chips faster than others like they were able to bring 64-bit to their smartphone years before others expected it would happen
    It says here that it's 6.5x slower than h.265 (hevc) to encode, 1.5x slower to decode:
     
    https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/312421-new-vvc-h-266-codec-is-a-step-towards-8k

    This doesn't matter much for big companies with data centers. If they have 10,000 movies and each takes 6 hours to encode, 1000 machines will do all of them in 3 days. It's worth the investment to save that much bandwidth and to allow a wider audience for 4k and 8k.

    For consumers, it's also beneficial to be saving space but hevc already does a really good job and the processing requirements here are high. There will be hardware encoders/decoders though, so it'll be supported at some point.
    MacProwatto_cobra
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