With online video demand surging, the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) has issued a new draft international standard of a new video-compression format that’s said to be twice as efficient as current standards.
Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden July 16-20, nearly 450 delegates from 26 countries representing the telecom, computing, TV and consumer electronics industries approved and issued the draft standard for the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) format. The draft standard is said to provide a 100% improvement in video compression levels as compared to the current H.264/AVC standard.
“There’s a lot of industry interest in this because it means you can halve the bit rate and still achieve the same visual quality, or double the number of television channels with the same bandwidth, which will have an enormous impact on the industry,” explained Per Fröjdh, manager for Visual Technology at Ericsson Research, Group Function Technology, who organized the event as Chairman of the Swedish MPEG delegation.
Doubling video compression capabilities is of particular interest to IPTV providers, especially those who deliver video via bandwidth constrained DSL. HVEC’s promise is to make much more efficient use of bandwidth, particularly in mobile networks, where spectrum is relatively scarce and demand for video is growing fast.
“Video accounts for the vast majority of all data sent over networks, and that proportion is increasing: by 2015, it is predicted to account for 90 percent of all network traffic,” Fröjdh pointed out.
MPEG Impact on Video
The MPEG industry association meets four times a year to discuss, propose and issue international standards for compression, decompression, processing and coded representation of moving pictures and audio. MPEG developed the MP3 and Advanced Audio coding (AAC) standards, the latter used by Apple in its consumer music offerings.
“MPEG has a big impact on the industry and on consumer electronics. On the video side, almost all digital terrestrial, satellite and cable TV services rely on video codecs standardized by MPEG,” Fröjdh continued. “When you buy a DVD or Blu-ray Disc, the compression format also uses MPEG standards.”
Fröjdh says commercial products using the final version of the new HEVC video compression format could be available as early as next year. That seems to be a somewhat optimistic view, given the draft standard was just approved. “It will take time before it’s launched for a TV service, but adoption is much quicker in the mobile area, and we’ll probably see the first services for mobile use cases next year,” he said.
Ericcson’s Visual Technology team is also working with MPEG to develop a new type of 3D video compression format that would pave the way for a new standard for 3D video systems that wouldn’t require the use of 3D glasses. That technology could be standardized by 2014.
Image courtesy of flickr user Ben Dodson.