One of the major obstacles in delivering video over the internet is the availability of sufficient bandwidth. In recent years, we have seen cable, satellite and telecommunication companies increasing the capacity of their infrastructures to allow for greater broadband connections to homes, businesses and mobile devices. This increased broadband availability has helped fuel the growth of content providers such as Netflix, HBO, YouTube and Hulu, just to name a few. Video on the internet has gone from a novelty to a mainstream business where high-definition video availability has become the norm. For the internet presence of videos to continue to grow, we must continue to see expansion in available bandwidth, or greater strides in the technology of how video is encoded for delivery.
Recently, the International Telecommunications Union (ITC) has cleared the way for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265. It is expected this new compression standard will succeed the current H.264 compression method widely used today. H.265 is touted to deliver full 1080p video at about half the bitrate required by the H.264 standard. Also, H.265 will be able to handle video resolutions up to 7680 x 4320, paving the way for Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV). For those of you who like to do the math, a 4K UHDTV signal could be streamed over a 20 to 30 Mbps connection. What I find interesting is this new H.265 standard has the potential to stream video resolutions over the internet that are higher than broadcast television.
HEVC promises to expand 1080p availability for those individuals who have limited internet bandwidth availability, and will serve as a catalyst to make HD video delivery easier and more efficient to mobile devices.
However, it takes more than just a new compression algorithm to make this work. You’ll also need a lot of computing power. It’s estimated that it will take 12 to 18 months for device manufacturers to include the necessary decoding chips that can handle the new H.265 standard. So in the meantime, let’s think about what’s next? How about SDUHDTV (Super Duper Ultra High Definition Television)!