The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute has announced a new standard video encoder that promises to reduce streaming by 50%.
According to the announcement, the full name of the encoder is H.266 / Versatile Video Coding (VVC), and is designed to succeed H.264 / Advanced Video Coding (AVC) and H.265 / High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) which combine approximately the 90% of world transmission and digital video compression on the market today.
While HEVC was first released in 2013, the coder proved controversial due to a patent dispute. That is why AVC, the predecessor of HEVC, remains the most dominant model, despite its first release in 2003.
However, the Fraunhofer Institute says VVC could be a step forward for the industry, as almost every major hardware and software company is currently linked to a messy patent system.
According to Frauhofer and due to the general data reduction requirement, H.266 / VVC makes video transmission more efficient on mobile networks where data capacity is limited. For example, the previous H.265 / HEVC standard required 10 gigabytes of data to transmit 90 minutes of UHD video. With this new technology, only 5 gigabytes of data are required to achieve the same quality.
Because H.266 / VVC was developed for high-definition video content, the new standard is particularly useful when streaming 4K or 8K video on flat-screen TVs. In addition, H.266 / VVC is ideal for all types of motion pictures: from 360 °, high-resolution panoramic photos to shared media.
The Fraunhofer Institute's parent company, the Fraunhofer Society, which is made up of many smaller institutes such as Fraunhofer HHI and others, is best known in the world of digital media as the creator of MP3. He also contributed significantly to the creation of H.264 and H.265.
Thus, this research organization has a long and successful history in data compression. However, Fraunhofer does not mention in its press release the existence of AV1, an open source competitor that does not require exploitation rights. The AV1 and its predecessor, VP9, are an integral part of streaming 4K content from platforms like YouTube, so it's likely that these standards will continue to compete with each other for years to come.
It is not clear to what extent AV1, AVC, HEVC and VVC will coexist in the future, but Fraunhofer claims that Media Coding Industry Forum, an industrial consortium, along with Apple, Sony and other manufacturers, is currently working on a chip designed to support VVC in hardware.