Industry split over H.266 VVC video codec licensing

July 08, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
H.266/Versatile Video Coding (VVC) cuts data rates by half over the current codec
The H.266 Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard has been agreed, with software codecs by the end of the year. This cuts data rates by half over the current codec, but there are questions over the licensing of the technology.

A new video compression standard has been developed with a new industry body that is warning against repeating the licensing problems of the past.

The H.266 Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard reduces data rates by half over the current H.265 HEVC technology. This is designed to work with 4K and 8K ultraHD video and opens up high dynamic range and omnidirectional 360° video transmission and storage. However the developers of the standard are warning against the current factured licensing environment.

The H.266 VVC standard development was led by Fraunhofer HHI in Germany along with Apple, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Sony.

“After dedicating almost three years toward this standard, we are proud to have been instrumental in developing H.266 VVC," says Benjamin Bross, head of the Video Coding Systems group at Fraunhofer HHI and editor of the +500-page standard specification. “Because of the quantum leap in coding efficiency offered by H.266 VVC, the use of video will increase further worldwide. Moreover, the increased versatility of H.266/VVC makes its use more attractive for a broader range of applications related to the transmission and storage of video.”

"If you consider that Fraunhofer HHI already played a key role in the development of the previous video coding standards H.264 AVC and H.265 HEVC, then we are happy with the fact that more than 50 percent of the bits on the Internet are generated by a Fraunhofer HHI technology,” adds Dr. Detlev Marpe, head of the Video Coding and Analytics department at Fraunhofer HHI.

The current H.265 HEVC standard requires around 10Gbytes of data to encode a 90-min UHD video. With H.266, only 5Gbytes is needed. The new standard is particularly beneficial when streaming 4K or 8K videos on a flat screen TV.

The H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) and H.265 HEVC standards are used in more than 10 billion end devices, processing over 90% of the total global volume

H.266 cuts video compression data rates in half

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