The Latest Standard in Video Compression: H.265

Video dominates the Internet. In the sheer number of bytes, more video data is sent over the Web than all other formats combined. People are demanding and getting higher quality, with more pixels and fewer pauses to buffer data. Earlier encoding and compression standards are falling behind the demand for better video delivery.

The Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) finalized the High Efficiency Video Coding(HEVC) standard, also known as H.265, in 2015. It delivers picture quality comparable with AVC (H.264), but with better data compression. It’s like increasing the bandwidth, but without having to change any hardware. HEVC is the encoding standard for Next Gen television (ATSC 3.0).

How it works

Video data is never sent as straightforward pixel data. The files would be huge, and it would be impossible to send them fast enough to keep up with the frames. Instead, it’s compressed, so that the same information can be sent in fewer bits, and therefore in less time. The more efficient the compression is, the better the quality for a given data rate.

In video compression for the Internet, the data loses some of the least significant bits in order to further improve the compression quality. It’s done in such a way that there’s no visible loss in quality.

There are two cases to consider: live encoding and video on demand (VOD). Live encoding is the more difficult case, since the compression has to happen in real time. VOD compresses files for later transmission, so the encoding can take as long as necessary. It can use more complex algorithms and get better compression. The decoding on the client side still needs to keep up with the video.

In VOD, H.265 offers a better compression rate by decreasing the data size as much as 50% compared to H.264. In live encoding, it gives a reduction of about 35%.

Why H.265 is better

H.264 has been around since 2003, which is a long age as computer technologies go.

Video with 4K resolution is growing more popular, and it puts higher demands on the server. Files are larger, and more bandwidth is necessary to deliver content. H.264 can handle 4K, but it puts higher demands on bandwidth and storage. Without any improvement in encoding, viewers will experience pauses, because the data stream just can’t catch up. The server may have to fall back to a lower resolution in order to avoid interruptions.

File size is important from a storage standpoint. When files are smaller, more copies can be put on servers close to the users. Keeping the path over the Internet short allows faster streaming.

H.265 provides benefits on three levels:

  • Viewers can get higher-quality video at the same connection speed.
  • Content providers can keep up with growing viewer demand, whether they deliver higher resolution or stream more simultaneous videos.
  • Storage requirements are less, allowing more files to be available.

Medianova delivers H.265

Users are growing more demanding. Providers like Netflix and Amazon are moving to 4K. As high-resolution movies become widely available, videos with fewer pixels will look blurry by comparison. Content providers will need to keep up with viewers’ expectations.

As Medianova, we now support H.265 through Encodio. Encodio is a cloud encoding/transcoding platform for on-demand files. We encode the files in multiple formats according to the client machine’s requirements and make them ready for CDN.

The fastest delivery comes from using a content delivery network (CDN) to bring your video closer to the user and Encodio can be integrated into any CDN.

Feel free to contact us to find out how Medianova can help you with H.265 video encoding to deliver the fastest, highest-quality video.

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