H.266 ‘to cut 4K streaming data by half’

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A new video-encoding standard that promises to cut data use by at least half has been formally unveiled, after three years of development and negotiations.

It is claimed H.266 should make it possible for slow connections to stream in higher quality than before, without pauses for buffering. It could also pave the way for on-demand services to offer 8K content.

The codec – aka Versatile Video Coding (VVC) – was announced by Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute. Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Intel and Huawei were reportedly among those that had worked on its development.

The aim is that in time, smartphones and other cameras will be able to automatically record and play back footage in the format. However, new chips will need to be developed before they can do so.

H.266 is designed to require half the bitrate as today’s standard H.265. The H.265 codec itself halved the bitrate requirement of its predecessor H.264, which is still widely in use.


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