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HEVC Standard Advances Through ITU

Geneva, Switzerland – The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an international video codec standards setting body, officially approved the next generation video compression codec High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).

The codec, also known as H.265, is expected to make possible delivery of Ultra High Definition content at low bit rates.

The new standard, which is the next step above today’s popular H.264/MPEG-4/AVC, is expected to clear the way for the delivery of 4K Ultra High Definition TV, 8K digital cinema and increase the availability of higher-resolution video in mobile devices.

The codec uses only half the bit rate of MPEG-4, which is expected to offer new video performances levels without stressing global network infrastructures.

Currently, the ITU-T H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec accounts of 80 percent of video content.

Although lower resolution content is currently being upscaled for presentation on Ultra HD TVs with favorable results, the HEVC codec will make possible viewing content in native 4K (Ultra HD) resolution and higher.

The ITU-T’s Study Group 16 agreed to the first-stage approval of the standard known formally as Recommendation ITU-T H.265 or ISO/IEC 23008-2.

The standard is the resolute of collaboration between the ITU Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

It is expected to be phased in as high-end products and services outgrow the limits of current network and display technology.

Companies including ATEME, Broadcom, Cyberlink, Ericsson, Fraunhofer HHI, Mitsubishi and the NHK have already showcased implementations of HEVC.

The new standard includes a ‘Main’ profile that supports 8-bit 4:2:0 video, a ‘Main 10’ profile with 10-bit support, and a ‘Main Still Picture’ profile for still image coding that employs the same coding tools as a video ‘intra’ picture.

The ITU/ISO/IEC Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) (formerly JVT) will continue work on extensions to HEVC, including support for 12-bit video, and 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 chroma formats.

Work is also advancing within the the Joint Collaborative Team on a 3D-Video (JCT-3V) extension to HEVC for higher resolution stereoscopic and 3D video coding.