Next-Gen Video Format Boasts 4K, 8K Quality at Half the File Size

A next-gen video format could offer 4K and 8K video quality at half the bandwidth requirements of today’s leading formats, but we’re likely still a few years away from widespread adoption. The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute announced the official release of h.266, also known as Versatile Video Recording. The new format is meant to replace current standards like h.265 (HEVC, or High-Efficiency Video Coding) and the older h.264 — both of which have seen widespread use on online videos and mobile devices.

Among h.266’s biggest advantages are improved compression techniques, which are used to squeeze high-resolution video into smaller file sizes for easier streaming, among other perks. In a press release, Fraunhofer HHI said the current h.265, or HEVC, standard needs around 10GB to store a 90-minute, 4K video.

“With this new technology, only 5 GB of data are required to achieve the same quality. Because H.266/VVC was developed with ultra-high-resolution video content in mind, the new standard is particularly beneficial when streaming 4K or 8K videos on a flat screen TV,” Fraunhofer HHI added.

While the potential efficiency gains are certainly impressive, we’re likely at least a few years away from the new format’s widespread use. The first version of its predecessor, h.265/HEVC, was first approved in 2013, but industry leaders gradually introduced hardware and software support for the standard over the next few years. For example, while Apple used h.265 for its 2014-era iPhone 6 line, the standard was only leveraged for cellular FaceTime calls. It wasn’t until 2017 and the release of iOS 11 that Apple fully supported the standard for video recording.

In any case, h.266/VVC could lead to less demanding bandwidth requirements for 4K and 8K streaming in the future and we’ll continue to follow the standard’s development and adoption as time marches on.

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