New MPEG format halves file size while maintaining quality

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), a group of technology experts formed to create new digital standards for audio and video compression, has a rich history when it comes to creating formats that affect everyone. Think of MP3, which is formally known as MPEG-1 Audio Layer III. MPEG-2 is used for DVD's, but also for digital television and some HD content. But the most recent standard that has become quite famous is probably H264, technically called MPEG-4 Part 10. It's used for compressing high definition video with small file sizes relative to other standards.

But because digital media consumption keeps growing and traditional systems can't always cope with the increased bandwidth required, 450 delegates from the The Moving Picture Experts Group have agreed on a new draft standard which could have "an enormous impact on the industry." These words come from the Swedish organiser of the meeting Per Fröjdh, who's a manager for visual technology at Ericsson Research: 

"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."

The new standard will be called High Efficiency Video Coding, also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2. Although the television industry probably isn't going to implement the new technique very soon, mobile service providers could incorporate the format into their services as early as next year, according to Fröjdh. Video is becoming a big part of all data sent over networks, and it keeps increasing. By 2015, it could be as much as 90 percent of all network traffic.

Source: iTWire

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dont like it. box type media players for pc will never recieve a update to play this if it becomes mainstream.

h 264 is FOR NOW more than enough.

this usually comes at the expense of CPU/GPU power, draining battery if you're on mobile. but I guess if they come up with dedicated chips like the have with every other codec, it wont be that bad

Phouchg said,
How about encoding speed, though? I'd also like to see more CUDA or equivalent powered encoders for plain users.

True i hope hardware accelerated encoding comes as standard, Mainconcept CUDA and others dont support all the encoding options of the non accelerated version

Phouchg said,
How about encoding speed, though? I'd also like to see more CUDA or equivalent powered encoders for plain users.

If Microsoft gets behind it there will probably be a DirectComput encoder/decoder.

The biggest problem that needs to be addressed is the complexity vs. CPU power usage balance where as before with the iPod you weighed up having larger high quality lossless but reduced battery life due to the hard disk spinning for longer. The reduced size of the file might end up saving the carriers a few dollars but what about the end user whose mobile phone or laptop has to deal with a more complex CODEC algorithm to decode? thank goodness it'll be a few years before it happens because hopefully by then the decoders will be mature and efficient enough without sacrificing battery life.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
The biggest problem that needs to be addressed is the complexity vs. CPU power usage balance where as before with the iPod you weighed up having larger high quality lossless but reduced battery life due to the hard disk spinning for longer. The reduced size of the file might end up saving the carriers a few dollars but what about the end user whose mobile phone or laptop has to deal with a more complex CODEC algorithm to decode? thank goodness it'll be a few years before it happens because hopefully by then the decoders will be mature and efficient enough without sacrificing battery life.
I think I'm reading this wrong. iPod... spinning HDD? Something doesn't fit in this picture.

Here is a fun fact for you all! France does not recognise software patent's, and this is why VLC can get away with trying to attempt Blu-ray and H264 playback, with out purchasing a license to do so.

Mozilla/Xiph will be releasing an Free opensource equivalent named "Daala", this they hope will become a web standard like how h.264 is, vp8 (webm) never really took off so mozilla is helping develop Daala which will offer slightly better quality than this HEVC patented codec.

http://wiki.xiph.org/Daala

Edited by torrentthief, Aug 15 2012, 12:06pm :

torrentthief said,
Mozilla/Xiph will be releasing an Free opensource equivalent named "Daala", this they hope will become a web standard like how h.264 is, vp8 (webm) never really took off so mozilla is helping develop Daala which will offer slightly better quality than this HEVC patented codec.

http://wiki.xiph.org/Daala

Plus add the massive cost to upgrade all existing hardware to provide hardware capabilities to play this new Daala - it quickly becomes a Laama.

ArialBlue said,

Plus add the massive cost to upgrade all existing hardware to provide hardware capabilities to play this new Daala - it quickly becomes a Laama.

you can play it in software with an ok computer, hardware support will be added just like with this HEVC codec.

torrentthief said,

you can play it in software with an ok computer, hardware support will be added just like with this HEVC codec.


Tell that to tablets, netbooks, and everyone that cares about battery power.

Salty Wagyu said,
Could this in any way allow for more HD channels to fit into Freeview's limited transmission bandwidth here in the UK?

I don't think people here care that your from the UK. Do some research about it

Salty Wagyu said,
Could this in any way allow for more HD channels to fit into Freeview's limited transmission bandwidth here in the UK?

no as no set top boxes have hevc support. We will get more channels once analog has been switched off and as the h.264 codec freeview uses requires less bitrate.

snowbug said,

I don't think people here care that your from the UK. Do some research about it

I don't know what's worse, the fact that you have such poor reading comprehension or the fact that you can't construct a sentence properly.

torrentthief said,

We will get more channels once analog has been switched off and as the h.264 codec freeview uses requires less bitrate.

Didn't the switch over end at the start of the Olympics?? I Dont think we get anymore channels because the extra space has/will be sold off to mobile providers..

The new format is not just about higher compression, but increased quality capabilities as well.

H.265 supports several times higher resolution than current HD sizes.

It also has a greater color range with support for more than 8bpp. (aka more than 16million colors)

This last feature will be a bit problematic in the computing world, as Windows is the only OS that has support for greater than 8bpp output. (Specifically Win7 & Win8)

thenetavenger said,
It also has a greater color range with support for more than 8bpp. (aka more than 16million colors)

This last feature will be a bit problematic in the computing world, as Windows is the only OS that has support for greater than 8bpp output. (Specifically Win7 & Win8)


I thought that Apple's Mini DisplayPort supported color depths greater than 24 bpp? Either that or I'm completely misunderstanding what this is about (which well may be the case...)

a0me said,

I thought that Apple's Mini DisplayPort supported color depths greater than 24 bpp? Either that or I'm completely misunderstanding what this is about (which well may be the case...)

Supporting a future standard is quite common. Cat6, which can support 10Gb, is becoming the standard cabling for Ethernets eventhough 10Gb switches are not even close to consumer uptake yet. I guess Apple wants to make the case for the display port.

Stuff like this won't just be cool, but essential for UHDTV / SHV to reach consumers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U..._High_Definition_Television

Read more about HEVC / H.265 here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding

This standard will coincide with broader UHDTV adoption pretty well, and the H.265 standard will indeed be designed to cover this kind of resolution.

Maybe it will also assist in cheaper HD broadcasts, and better HDTV support among channels.

Edited by Northgrove, Aug 15 2012, 10:18am :

Varemenos said,
open its source or gt*o

Who are you? Richard Stallman? Even Debian supports H.264 in its _official_ packages, and that's saying something.

Varemenos said,
open its source or gt*o

No, you. Go spend years of development, pay off the developers, then release it for free. We're waiting, hero.

Think of MP3, which is formally known as MPEG-1 Audio Layer III

Um, MPEG-1 is also an audio AND VIDEO standard.

(It was used commercially by cable companies and even DirecTV was entirely MPEG-1 for the first year when it launched.)

thenetavenger said,

Um, MPEG-1 is also an audio AND VIDEO standard.

(It was used commercially by cable companies and even DirecTV was entirely MPEG-1 for the first year when it launched.)

Yeah, that's why it was mentioned explicitly as MPEG-1 AUDIOA LAYER III.

thenetavenger said,

Um, MPEG-1 is also an audio AND VIDEO standard.

(It was used commercially by cable companies and even DirecTV was entirely MPEG-1 for the first year when it launched.)

You're absolutely right, but as bviktor points out, I mentioned it as MPEG-1 Audio Layer III. MPEG-1 wasn't as successful in the video department (VCD, SVCD, early satellite tv) as it was in the audio department with MP3.

Mortis said,

YAY! Another rotten multi-patent encumbered, closed format......

Spirit Dave said,

Negative nelly


He's probably got a point there. Did H.264/MPEG4 not start off as fully open standards
only to eventually become patent encumbered by the likes of Apple, Microsoft and the
multi-million dollar media companies, while being argued to death on internet forums
by fanbois and open standard advocates alike? This has only resulted in a number of
different video file formats, and due to commercial licensing restrictions with the
associated patents, not all media playing devices can support all the formats.

Unless the boffins at the Moving Picture Experts Group actually do something to
ensure that the newly proposed H.265 video format stays a fully open standard,
it'll go the same way as H.264, and become stifled by greedy companies.

Mortis said,
YAY! Another rotten multi-patent encumbered, closed format......

That hasn't stopped video like H.264 from being popular on even Linux desktops... Canonical is a H.264 licensee, for example. And Linux desktops form about 1% of the desktop market. So it's a non-issue for most people out there. More people complain about this just to complain, than having actual real-world problems with it.

DJGM said,

He's probably got a point there. Did H.264/MPEG4 not start off as fully open standards
only to eventually become patent encumbered by the likes of Apple, Microsoft and the
multi-million dollar media companies, while being argued to death on internet forums
by fanbois and open standard advocates alike? This has only resulted in a number of
different video file formats, and due to commercial licensing restrictions with the
associated patents, not all media playing devices can support all the formats.

Unless the boffins at the Moving Picture Experts Group actually do something to
ensure that the newly proposed H.265 video format stays a fully open standard,
it'll go the same way as H.264, and become stifled by greedy companies.

Stifled ?H.264 is EVERYWHERE. The consumer wont have noticed any difference. I don't see your point. What the companies behind the scenes are doing hasn't stopped it becoming a huge standard.

Mortis said,
YAY! Another rotten multi-patent encumbered, closed format......

I'd rather have a high quality closed codec than a free rubbish one like VP8.

Mortis said,
YAY! Another rotten multi-patent encumbered, closed format......

Meanwhile the "free"formats with the full power of Google behind it, isn't capable of even matching H.264. So there's a reason hardware makers are willing to pay for the licenses.

Spirit Dave said,

Stifled ?H.264 is EVERYWHERE. The consumer wont have noticed any difference.
I don't see your point. What the companies behind the scenes are doing
hasn't stopped it becoming a huge standard.


Stifled ... for example due to the various commercial licensing restrictions with the
associated patents, not all media playing devices can support all the formats.

If it was still a fully open standard without commercial restrictions, all the media
player devices would freely be able to play all variations of the H.264 format.

Thanks to greedy companies hijacking the standard with needless patents, even
the XBox 360 (itself made by a big company that's greedy to some degree) is
unable to play all types of media files, unless Microsoft buys licensing rights.

These restrictions mean, playback of some MP4 files, and most DiVX encoded
videos won't work, and I'm shown an "unsupported codec" error message . . .

<i>Cannot play content because audio or video contains an
unsupported codec. Go to xbox.com/support for more info.</i>

. . . or worse, it just says "No videos found" on a folder containing ... videos!

DJGM said,

If it was still a fully open standard without commercial restrictions, all the media
player devices would freely be able to play all variations of the H.264 format.

Umm, No. That's because hardware players can only accelerate h.264 files with certain specs. They don't use CPU for playback.

For example, just try to play a 10-bit h.264 video through DXVA on your PC. You see that's impossible. No current graphics card supports it.
The only way is to play it in software mode.

h264 OWNS all "free" "Linux-friendly" "cheap-friendly" "open" formats out there. I mean, it not only is better -

but comparing h264 to, say, WebM is like comparing an AK-47 with a butter knife.

flexkeyboard said,
lol...it's always that one socialist guy complaining. Always asking for free handout.

Do you even know what socialism is about?

DJGM said,

He's probably got a point there. Did H.264/MPEG4 not start off as fully open standards
only to eventually become patent encumbered by the likes of Apple, Microsoft and the
multi-million dollar media companies, while being argued to death on internet forums
by fanbois and open standard advocates alike? This has only resulted in a number of
different video file formats, and due to commercial licensing restrictions with the
associated patents, not all media playing devices can support all the formats.

Unless the boffins at the Moving Picture Experts Group actually do something to
ensure that the newly proposed H.265 video format stays a fully open standard,
it'll go the same way as H.264, and become stifled by greedy companies.

Just because something is open doesn't mean it is royalty free just as something can be proprietary but royalty free - because something is an open standard doesn't mean it automatically leans towards being royalty free.

DJGM said,

Stifled ... for example due to the various commercial licensing restrictions with the
associated patents, not all media playing devices can support all the formats.

If it was still a fully open standard without commercial restrictions, all the media
player devices would freely be able to play all variations of the H.264 format.

Thanks to greedy companies hijacking the standard with needless patents, even
the XBox 360 (itself made by a big company that's greedy to some degree) is
unable to play all types of media files, unless Microsoft buys licensing rights.

These restrictions mean, playback of some MP4 files, and most DiVX encoded
videos won't work, and I'm shown an "unsupported codec" error message . . .

<i>Cannot play content because audio or video contains an
unsupported codec. Go to xbox.com/support for more info.</i>

. . . or worse, it just says "No videos found" on a folder containing ... videos!

The standard was never hijacked by anyone. It was created by the MPEG group which has a patent pool process they use for all companies involved so that everyone in the group gets a share of the royalties. Microsoft and Apple have Zero to do with that process. In fact, Microsoft and Apple had their own codecs they competed with but ultimately H.264 won out.

DJGM said,

He's probably got a point there. Did H.264/MPEG4 not start off as fully open standards
only to eventually become patent encumbered by the likes of Apple, Microsoft and the
multi-million dollar media companies, while being argued to death on internet forums
by fanbois and open standard advocates alike? This has only resulted in a number of
different video file formats, and due to commercial licensing restrictions with the
associated patents, not all media playing devices can support all the formats.

Unless the boffins at the Moving Picture Experts Group actually do something to
ensure that the newly proposed H.265 video format stays a fully open standard,
it'll go the same way as H.264, and become stifled by greedy companies.

Were you aware that research and development don't come free?

Mortis said,
YAY! Another rotten multi-patent encumbered, closed format......

I agree. I'd much prefer an open codec like WebM/Theora, but for some reason everyone's using H.264 :shrug

DJGM said,

He's probably got a point there. Did H.264/MPEG4 not start off as fully open standards
only to eventually become patent encumbered by the likes of Apple, Microsoft and the
multi-million dollar media companies,

What are you smoking?
What does Apple (and Microsoft) have to do with H.264 and patents?
Microsoft, Apple and Google all support the format in their respective OS/browsers.
I believe that Mozilla for some time required a 3rd party plugin for playback, but that's not the case anymore.

DJGM said,

Stifled ... for example due to the various commercial licensing restrictions with the
associated patents, not all media playing devices can support all the formats.

If it was still a fully open standard without commercial restrictions, all the media
player devices would freely be able to play all variations of the H.264 format.

I don't think you understand how codecs, software, OS, and hardware work. Even if there was no licensing an operating system cannot just play the codec. There are hardware limitations too. H264 is CPU intensive. Most media players do not have a CPU that can handle the decoding. In order to keep power and price down the hardware manufacturer will add a processor to the device specifically for decoding H264. The processor might also be able to decode a few other codecs and the CPU might be able to decode a few codecs. But there are limits. That is why a device can play some codecs and not others.

Once the device is built if a codec changes or a new one comes out the device will not have the processor for decoding that codec. The OS will not know what type of codec it is and the media software will not be able to play the video. So once H265 comes out there will be millions of devices that will not be able to play the codec because the software and OS will not know nothing about the codec without an update and the hardware will not have the processor that is capable of playing the codec.

It means everyone will spend money on buying new devices which include media players, game consoles, DVD or Bluray players, TVs etc. It takes time for everyone to upgrade and therefore the adaptation is slow. However, with phone everyone is constantly upgrading so it will be quicker to the market on phones.

Of course if the hardware manufacturer needs to buy a license then the hardware will have support based on if they pay the license and add the support. That is their fault if they do not want to adapt and the consumers fault for buying a limited device.

simplezz said,

I agree. I'd much prefer an open codec like WebM/Theora, but for some reason everyone's using H.264 :shrug

Meanwhile the rest of the world likes their quality and files that can be decoded on the billions of hardware out there, like tv's DVD players, bluray players....

kevcampbell said,
so, we could be seeing 1080p encodes in the near future with the typical file size of a 720p encode?
I bet it will take a fair amount of time before it gets adopted and hardware is ready, so I'd say more like 4K encodes at the size of current [large] 1080p encodes.
Looking forward, 720p will not be enough.

kevcampbell said,
so, we could be seeing 1080p encodes in the near future with the typical file size of a 720p encode?

And just think about what this might do to YouTube. Hopefully browsers will integrate decoding support like they have done now in the HTML 5 era.

thenonhacker said,
YIFY will be pleased!

I'm not though. I've just bought a Cyclone Micro 2 which only supports H.264 Unless I can get a firmware upgrade that is.

Neobond said,
Yeah it looks promising

Even if the television industry takes it's time migrating to this format, the possibilities in the mobile industry as mentioned would be fantastic. If it does in fact work as well as they claim, I can only see good things coming from this.

...and as usual no one comprehends that this codec is tied to the RIAA who wants to bill you for it's use once it's achieved 100% market saturation. This doesn't mean it's a bad product, just a good product on the leash of some evil greedy pricks in Hollywood.

JAB Creations said,
...and as usual no one comprehends that this codec is tied to the RIAA who wants to bill you for it's use once it's achieved 100% market saturation. This doesn't mean it's a bad product, just a good product on the leash of some evil greedy pricks in Hollywood.

....and as usual someone jumps in to make assumptions. I'm well aware of where this codec is tied. I'm also aware that there are countless people around the open source world who would be more than happy to get their hands on a codec like this. Don't get me wrong, I'm not naive enough to believe that the corporations involved in these industries are in it for our benefit, but I'm also not stupid enough to believe that these advances don't encourage further advancements and the opportunity for others around the globe to build off of such interesting innovations.

This is such old news.
Way to keep with the times, Neowin.
btw, calling this h265 is highly improper, it is indeed HEVC.
And no, this won't be some "behind the scenes" change or modification to h264; It will be a different codec entirely. Think of the jump from xvid to h264.