Technology 3 min read

New Video Codec can Halve Bitrate Required for Streaming

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A video bitrate refers to the number of bits per second, which determines the size and quality of videos.

A higher bitrate essentially means better quality and larger file size. Bitrate also increases with the resolution because more data are being processed.

For full HD videos with a standard resolution, the bitrate is usually between 3,500 to 5,000 kbps. Similarly, full HD videos with a high-resolution usually stream between 4,500 to 6,000 kbps.

While a higher video bitrate may provide excellent picture quality, the data demand is exceptionally high. Users require an internet connection of at least 85 megabits per second for 8k quality streaming.

But that could change soon.

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute have announced a new codec that can reduce bitrate without compromising video quality. It’s called Versatile Video CodingVVC for shorts.

In a press release on the new video codec, the Fraunhofer Institute wrote:

“This new standard 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.”

Here’s why H.266/VVC is a game-changer.

A New Video Codec for Ultra High Definition

H.266/VVC increases the efficiency of video transmission in mobile networks by reducing data requirements.

For example, the previous standard, H.265/HEVC, requires up to 10 gigabytes of data to transmit 90 minutes of UHD content. On the other hand, the new codec needs only 5 gigabytes of data for the same video quality.

The German institute developed H.266/VVC with the ultra-high-resolution video content in mind. The codec ideal for streaming 4k, but it could also open the door to broader adoption of super high-definition 8K content.

Head of the Video Coding Systems group at Fraunhofer HHI and editor of the +500-page standard specification of H.266/VVC, Benjamin Bross noted:

“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.”

For instance, streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu can increase transmission efficiency at a reduced cost. Also, video conferencing will have lower data demand.

The Fraunhofer Institute says it collaborated with some big tech names to design H.266/VVC. These include Apple, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Sony.

Also, Media Coding Industry Forum — which comprises 34 major companies — is set to adopt the codec.

Versatile Video Coding’s Drawback

One primary drawback of the video codec is its demand for a higher processing power than the current standard.

The decoding time is ten times more complicated than HEVC. It also has a lengthy encoding process, taking 6.5 times longer to encode VVC content than the current standard.

As a result, a more powerful chip is necessary to handle the process.

“The new chips required for the use of H.266/VVC, such as those in mobile devices, are currently being designed,” says Fraunhofer.

Read More: Ambient Backscatter Communication set to Revolutionize HD Streaming

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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