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ITU approves H.265 (HEVC)

New video codec to ease pressure on global networks

Successor to award-winning standard to unleash new innovation

Geneva, 25 January 2013 - A new video coding standard building on the PrimeTime Emmy award winning ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC was agreed by ITU members today.

The new codec will considerably ease the burden on global networks where, by some estimates, video accounts for more than half of bandwidth use. The new standard, known informally as "High Efficiency Video Coding" (HEVC) will need only half the bit rate of its predecessor, ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 Part 10 "Advanced Video Coding" (AVC), which currently accounts for over 80 per cent of all web video. HEVC will unleash a new phase of innovation in video production spanning the whole ICT spectrum, from mobile devices through to Ultra-High Definition TV.

ITU-T"s Study Group 16 has agreed first-stage approval (consent) of the much-anticipated standard known formally as Recommendation ITU-T H.265 or ISO/IEC 23008-2. It is the product of collaboration between the ITU Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “ITU-T H.264 underpinned rapid progression and expansion of the video ecosystem, with many adopting it to replace their own proprietary compression codecs. The industry continues to look to ITU and its partners as the global benchmark for video compression, and I have no doubt that this new standard will be as effective as its predecessor in enabling the next wave of innovation in this fast-paced industry.”

ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC is deployed in products and services from companies including Adobe, Apple, BBC, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Sony, Tandberg, Toshiba and others to deliver high definition video images over broadcast television, cable TV, a variety of direct-broadcast satellite-based television services, Blu-Ray disc formats, mobile phones, videoconferencing tools, digital storage media, and Internet Protocol television (IPTV). It remains the most deployed global video compression standard.

ITU-T H.265 / ISO/IEC 23008-2 HEVC will provide a flexible, reliable and robust solution, future-proofed to support the next decade of video. The new standard is designed to take account of advancing screen resolutions and 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 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 a range of extensions to HEVC, including support for 12-bit video as well as 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 chroma formats. Another important element of this work will be the progression of HEVC towards scalable video coding. The three bodies will also work within the Joint Collaborative Team on 3D-Video (JCT-3V) on the extension of HEVC towards stereoscopic and 3D video coding.

Source: ITU

What is H.265?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) also known as H.265 is a draft video compression standard, a successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), currently under joint development by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG). MPEG and VCEG have established a Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) to develop the HEVC standard.[1] Said to improve video quality and double the data compression ratio compared to H.264., HEVC can scale from 320 x 240 pixels all the way up to 7680 x 4320 resolution.[2]

It has sometimes been referred to as "H.265" since it is considered the successor of H.264, although this name is not commonly used within the standardization project. In MPEG, it is also sometimes known as "MPEG-H", however, the primary name used within the standardization project is HEVC.[3]



HEVC aims to substantially improve coding efficiency compared to AVC High Profile, i.e. to reduce bitrate requirements by half with comparable image quality, at the expense of increased computational complexity. Depending on the application requirements, HEVC should be able to trade off computational complexity, compression rate, robustness to errors and processing delay time.

HEVC is targeted at next-generation HDTV displays and content capture systems which feature progressive scanned frame rates and display resolutions from QVGA (320x240) up to 1080p and Ultra HDTV (7680x4320), as well as improved picture quality in terms of noise level, color gamut and dynamic range.[4][5]


The HEVC draft design includes various coding tools, such as

It has been speculated that these techniques are most beneficial with multi-pass encoding.[6]


The ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) began significant study of technology advances that could enable creation of a new video compression standard (or substantial compression-oriented enhancements of the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard) in about 2004. Various techniques for potential enhancement of the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard were surveyed in October 2004. At the next meeting of VCEG, in January 2005, VCEG began designating certain topics as "Key Technical Areas" (KTA) for further investigation. A software codebase called the KTA codebase was established for evaluating such proposals in 2005.[7] The KTA software was based on the Joint Model (JM) reference software that was developed by the MPEG & VCEG Joint Video Team for H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. Additional proposed technologies were integrated into the KTA software and tested in experiment evaluations over the next four years.

Two approaches for standardizing enhanced compression technology were considered: either creating a new standard or creating extensions of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. The project had tentative names H.265 and H.NGVC (Next-generation Video Coding), and was a major part of the work of VCEG until its evolution into the HEVC joint project with MPEG in 2010. The "H.265" nickname was especially associated with the potential creation of a new standard.

The preliminary requirements for NGVC were bit rate reduction of 50% at the same subjective image quality comparing to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High profile, with computational complexity ranging from 1/2 to 3 times that of the High profile. NGVC would be able to provide 25% bit rate reduction along with 50% reduction in complexity at the same perceived video quality as the High profile, or to provide greater bit rate reduction with somewhat higher complexity.[5]

"H.265" was used as a nickname for an entirely new standard, as was the "High-performance Video Coding" work by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Although some agreements about the goals of the project had been reached by early 2009, e.g. computational efficiency and high compression performance,[8] the state of technology at the time seemed not yet mature for creation of an entirely new "H.265" standard, as all contributions were essentially modifications closely based on the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC design.

The ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) started a similar project in 2007, tentatively named High-performance Video Coding. Early evaluations were performed with modifications of the KTA reference software encoder developed by VCEG. By July 2009, experimental results showed average bit reduction of around 20% compared with AVC High Profile; these results prompted MPEG to initiate its standardization effort in collaboration with VCEG.

A formal joint Call for Proposals (CfP) on video compression technology was issued in January 2010 by VCEG and MPEG, and proposals were evaluated at the first meeting of the MPEG & VCEG Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC), which took place in April 2010. A total of 27 full proposals were submitted. Evaluations showed that some proposals could reach the same visual quality as AVC at only half the bit rate in many of the test cases, at the cost of 2x-10x increase in computational complexity; and some proposals achieved good subjective quality and bit rate results with lower computational complexity than the reference AVC High profile encodings. At that meeting, the name High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) was adopted for the joint project. Starting at that meeting, the JCT-VC integrated features of some of the best proposals into a single software codebase and a draft standard text specification, and performed further experiments to evaluate various proposed features.[9][dated info] [10]


The timescale for completing the HEVC standard is as follows:

See also


  1. ^ ITU TSB (23 April 2010). "Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding". ITU-T. http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/studygroups/com16/jct-vc/. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  2. ^ http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/ZiiLabs-ZMS40/ Quad-core SoC supports Android 4.0, 3840 x 1080 video resolution, including up to true 4K resolution 3D video.
  3. ^ http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/ZiiLabs-ZMS40/ Quad-core SoC supports Android 4.0, 3840 x 1080 video resolution, including true 4K resolution 3D video.
  4. ^ Press release of the 88th MPEG meeting, Maui, USA, April 2009.
  5. ^ a b ITU-T VCEG, Draft requirements for "EPVC" enhanced performance video coding project, 10 July 2009.
  6. ^ Jie Dong (1 July 2008). "Current status of H.265 (as at July 2008)". H265.net. http://www.h265.net/2008/07/current-status-of-h265.html. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  7. ^ T. Wedi and T.K. Tan, AHG report - Coding Efficiency Improvements, VCEG document VCEG-AA06, October 2005.
  8. ^ "An Interview With Dr. Thomas Wiegand". in-cites. 18 April 2004. http://www.in-cites.com/scientists/ThomasWiegand.html. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Documents of the first meeting of the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) - Dresden, Germany, 15-23 April 2010". ITU-T. 23 April 2010. http://ftp3.itu.int/av-arch/jctvc-site/2010_04_A_Dresden. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  10. ^ JCT-VC Geneva March 2011 Meeting - Document Register