Zeeshan Rahman, Sr Broadcast Executive, Times Television Network

H.265 is the successor standard to H.264, i.e., MPEG-4, Part 10 AVC and has generated huge optimism given the industry's struggle with shortage of bandwidth, spectrum storage, and imminent need to take growing Ultra HD and HD content for multiplatform delivery.

H.265, the new video compression standard, also known as high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) and MPEG-H Part-2, has been developed by JCT-VC organization.

Compared with the existing video coding standard H.264, H.265 retains some of the original technologies, while improving some relevant techniques. H.265 adopts advanced techniques to improve the bit-stream, promote the coding quality, and create a better relationship between time delay and algorithm complexity to achieve best optimizations as far as possible.

H.265 has better compression performance, and lower bandwidth utilization ratio.

For video services, the ultimate goal of compressing a movie is to reduce the size of the movie file, so that it can take up less storage space, as well as reduce the network bandwidth consumption in transmission.

In other words, at the same quality of coding, H.265 can save around 50 percent of the bit rate, and the coding efficiency can be doubled than H.264, as H.265 provides different tools to reduce the bit rate. For example, in H.264, each macro block is fixed to the size of 1616 pixels, but the coding unit of H.265 can be chosen from a minimum of 88 to the maximum of 6464.


On the left hand side, as the illustration shows above, is used traditional H.264 standard, and each macro block is fixed; in H.264 coding technology, the giant sections of data are completely independent of each other, so coding distortion situations are likely to happen in border areas of the giant block.

It is the H.265 standard on the right; the size of code unit is determined by the regional information. From the image contrast, we can see the picture-quality enhancement and the more delicate character's skin under H.265 is much better than H.264.

Now we know well how H.265 is superior to H.264. Without doubt, H.265 will become a widely used codec in the near future as it is one of the best ways to reduce file size with original quality being retained.

Nowadays, Netflix has already begun using HEVC to stream 4K content to the few 4K TVs, equipped to decode HEVC. New televisions coming this year from LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio will support HEVC and will be able to stream 4K video from Netflix.

Amazon has been filming all of its original content, such as political comedy Alpha House, in 4K. The company also has partnered with several studios for 4K streaming using HEVC, including Warner Bros., Lions Gate, and
20th Century Fox.