New VVC ((H.266) video standard compresses video files by 50% compared to HEVC(H.265)

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Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute announces New VVC ((H.266) video standard that compresses video files by 50 % compared to HEVC (H.265)

Transferring video files is a huge headache for Internet users due to large file sizes. Torrents were actually born out of this need to make small bits of huge video files so they could be transferred across IP addresses seamlessly. The current video compression encoder being used is called High-Efficiency Video Coding, HEVC is also known as H.265 and is at present commonly used encoding to compress video files. However, even HEVC compression doesn’t work with Ultra High Definition (UHD) and 4K movies which consume huge amounts of data.

The HEVC or H.265 was first formulated in 2012 and was able to compress video files by 50% over its predecessor, Advanced Video Coding (AVC, H.264, or MPEG-4 Part 10). The HEVC or H.265 encoding is been in general use since 2016. Right now HEVC or H.265 is used in almost 80% videos found on the Internet.

Now after 8 years, we have a new video compression encoder called Versatile Video Coding (VVC) or H.266. The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute has announced the release of VVC (Versatile Video Coding) or H.266. According to the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, the new H.266 offers improved compression, which reduces data requirements by around 50% of the bit rate relative to the previous standard H.265/High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) without compromising visual quality. In other words, H.266/VVC offers faster video transmission for equal perceptual quality.

The new VVC video compression standard work was started in 2015 by Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in collaboration with tech industry giants like Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Intel, etc.

What is VVC or H.266?

VVC or Versatile Video Coding is a video compression format that makes videos and movies smaller without making them lose their quality. Such compression is absolutely necessary because the original movie/video size could be as large as 100GB and could make it difficult for users to transfer it to another medium or over the internet. The video compression standards like AVC, HEVC, and now VVC make it easier to compress such huge video files into a more transferable option without losing quality.

According to the Institute backing VVC, the latest video compression standard compresses the video file size to nearly half of the HEVC compressed video file. For instance, a 90-minute Ultra High Definition or UHD video compressed with HEVC would take around 10GB of data to transmit. The new compression, VVC could make this 90-minute video into a 5GB without compromising the quality.

Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute says that because H.266/VVC was developed with the ultra-high-resolution video content in mind, the new standard is particularly beneficial when streaming 4K or 8K videos on a flat-screen TV. Furthermore, H.266/VVC is ideal for all types of moving images: from high-resolution 360° video panoramas to screen sharing content.

In other words, VVC (H.266) will not make it easier for users to transfer files over the Internet or from their hard disks to USB sticks/ SSD/external drives without much fuss.

The new video compression standard would be made available to all users through FRAND licensing principle. FRAND means fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory and the Institue has already founded the Media Coding Industry Forum (MC-IF) for this purpose. As of now, nearly +30 plus companies and organizations are a part of VVC.

The new VVC or H.266 video compression standard would require a new chip in smartphones and gadgets. The Institute says they are working with the manufacturers for designing such ships. Dr. Thomas Schierl, head of the Video Coding and Analytics department at Fraunhofer HHI, announced “this autumn Fraunhofer HHI will publish the first software (for both encoder and decoder) to support H.266/VVC.”

It would be somewhere in 2021 that smartphones/Smart TVs and other gadgets would have the capability of running movies/videos compressed using the new VVC (H.266) coder. You can see the comparative study of the new VVC video compression standard here(registration required).

If you are interested to know more about VVC, you can contact the research team here.

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"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." Eric Schmidt

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