• 2 minutes 46 seconds
6. Transcoding Challenges with H.265 HEVC & 4K UHD
• The video quality of entertainment is constantly improving, while viewing behavior is changing rapidly as well. H.265 (otherwise known as High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC) promises double the amount of video with the same bandwidth compared to H.264. Or viewed from a different perspective, video will be transmitted at half the bandwidth compared to H.264.
H.265 is becoming synonymous with 4K (4096×2160) and UHD (3840×2160). And true 4K from a broadcast perspective is becoming synonymous with HDMI 2.0. These three technologies need to converge to bring consumers to the next level in digital video.
The foundations of the H.265 standard were finalized over different stages throughout 2013, but it will still take time before consumers see this codec supported in consumer electronics. In addition, the industry still has to learn how to optimize the quality of compressed content so that it is bandwidth efficient, while still maintaining consistent high quality. Even though H.265 promises 50% efficiency, we’re not there yet as early tests reveal compression efficiencies to be between 15% and 35%. Bandwidth efficiency also translates to lower storage requirements which will be a welcome improvement for cloud service providers.
At the moment, encoding in H.265 is expected to take ten times longer than H.264 at the same frame size, so this will initially be a burden to encoding and transcoding services at the ingest stage. But this metric doesn’t tell the whole story. H.265 encoding should also be understood from the context of 4K encoding and higher color bit depth. Figure i attempts to show the encoding burden against time, represented along the horizontal axis.
When 4K becomes mainstream, and with 4K frames at four times the size of HD frames, it is estimated that encoding will take 40x longer than today’s HD @ H.264. That’s assuming we’ll be happy with 8-bit encoding (typically found in Blu-Ray and DVD movies). Time will tell whether the industry will accept 8-bit at 4K. It’s also possible that 10-bit will be synonymous with 4K, or maybe even 12-bit as the technology matures.
Time will tell…
 These are just estimates, and have not yet been lab tested.
• Entertainment Challenges in Today’s Digital Society
• Check out additional thought leadership answers to the entertainment challenges in today’s digital society:
1. Is 2nd Screen a threat to broadcasters? What are the challenges for OTT moving forward?
2. How will 4K be adopted by consumers?
3. Is there a future for 4K video in broadcast?
4. How is OTT evolving, and what’s in store for subscribers?
5. How is digital video affecting global communications?
• Understanding the entertainment market from ten thousand meters helps industry executives make strategic decisions. This leads to tactical initiatives that drive innovation, new services, and revenue growth. This Q&A series takes a top level view of today’s digital landscape and helps decision makers navigate through the latest technologies and trends in digital video. Gabriel Dusil, Chief Marketing & Corporate Strategy Officer from Visual Unity, discusses the ongoing developments in Over the Top (OTT) services, how these platforms are helping to shape today’s digital society, and addresses the evolving changes in consumer behavior. Topics include 2nd Screen, 4K Ultra High Definition video, H.265 HEVC, global challenges surrounding content distribution, and the future of OTT.
• About Gabriel Dusil
• Gabriel Dusil is the Chief Marketing and Corporate Strategy Officer at Visual Unity, with a mandate to advance the company’s portfolio into next generation solutions and expand the company’s global presence. Before joining Visual Unity, Gabriel was the VP of Sales & Marketing at Cognitive Security, and Director of Alliances at SecureWorks, responsible for partners in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Previously, Gabriel worked at VeriSign and Motorola in a combination of senior marketing and sales roles. Gabriel obtained a degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and has advanced knowledge in Online Video Solutions, Cloud Computing, Security as a Service (SaaS), Identity and Access Management (IAM), and Managed Security Services (MSS).