H.265 was approved back in January 2013. H.265 codec was originally developed in 2010 by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG). Already in February 2013, MIT researchers were demonstrating the world's first published HEVC ASIC decoder which was able to decode a video stream at 30 fps. This happened in real time at a resolution of 3840x216 and with astonishingly low power consumption. Is this good news or bad news? How is the next-generation h.265 encoder going to revolutionize the video encoding industry? Before you decide, here are a few facts about the new h.265 codec.
The h.265 codec was built on a model targeting high efficiency and low complexity applications. The collaborative team of the h.265 codec developers announces a maximum supported resolution of 7680 x 4320 (and of course 4K resolution!) but promise much smaller file sizes.
An impressive maximum of 50% video bitrate reduction, an overall improvement in colour gamut and noise levels, as well as a higher effectiveness than that of the H264, are cited among the numerous advantages of the h.265 codec. To put it simply, this means that the end users will be dealing with smaller files. They will be able to transfer those files faster over the Internet without losing precious quality.
Using an h.265 encoder thus offers a neat advantage for both video producers and video consumers who will certainly be wowed. This is great news for producers of video who want to maximise quality and minimise costs. Online commercial distribution of video will certainly be less expensive on the storage side and highly interesting in terms of video supply variety, especially for businesses offering video-on-demand services. The h.265 encoder will allow video makers to preserve amazing HD quality but the files will require less disk space and therefore, storage will be less costly. This also means that the new h.265 codec may very well improve streaming both in speed and in quality. h.265 encoding will come on the high-end side of the market and we may be looking at a fast-approaching revolution in the conception, production and commerce of entertainment products. And this is true both in terms of hardware and software.
On the negative side, however, the h.265 codec may not come free of charge. Given that the h.265 encoder's effectiveness is announced to be twice as good as that of the old H264, we may be faced with a higher value and higher royalties to be paid for a video encoder using the h.265 codec. A new codec also entails new products. Will the technology-manufacturing machine turn at twice its H264 speed to produce new hardware? At what cost? If that is the case, you might want to start saving up for those new h.265 codec enabled tech toys and gadgets. The h.265 encoder may prove to be inadequate or difficult to manage for older processors and chipsets. As of now, we are not sure what the exact requirements to decode the h.265 codec will be. Note that Google and Webm are going to release an open source and free alternative: VP9.
As it frequently happens in the high-tech world, the promising novelty has its downside. It seems that the h.265 encoder can ultimately be a very good thing, a marvellous leap into the future, but it comes with a bundle of shortcomings that we will have to tackle in one way or another. Ultimately, it may be more effective and less expensive in the long run. It will provide enjoyable, realistic, highly colourful content but may also be more costly for immediate investment. But it may also improve dramatically the design and conception of our hardware and softwares. And it will certainly change the way we look at the reality that we will be capturing and encoding.
Information about the h.265 encoder is already becoming available all over the Web and the opinions range from the excitedly enthusiastic to the measures and inquisitive.