Industry Trends: HEVC Usage on the Rise
HEVC, the video compression standard also known as H.265 or MPEG-H Part 2, has been around since 2013, offering a lot of promise but resulting in very low acceptance. Until recently.
HEVC can deliver up to 50% better data compression than AVC/H.264 at the same video quality or, alternatively, substantially improved video quality at the same bit rate. This ability opens the door for the delivery of 4K and HDR video over existing delivery networks to the growing universe of viewing platforms. While the required processing power of HEVC is about 10% greater than that of AVC, there is also a reduction in storage requirements — a fair tradeoff for many content creators and programmers.
In our “2019 Global Media Formats Report,” we reported that 12% of all video produced in 2018 utilized HEVC. The year prior, the vast majority of HEVC usage was strictly for testing and development, but in 2018 and 2019 many more production workflows began employing the standard. Some of this growth can be attributed to growing adoption of high-resolution formats such as Dolby Vision and HDR+, both of which are compatible with HEVC. Another factor is the ability to integrate HEVC within HLS streams, today’s de facto standard for adaptive bitrate streaming.
Industry experts point out that HEVC’s time looks to have finally come. In his article, “HEVC, AV1, VVC: How to Make Sense of 2019’s World of Codecs,” found in the Autumn 2019 issue of Streaming Media magazine, Jan Ozer, writes, “Producers are deploying HEVC to deliver upgraded formats to new devices, but not to harvest the bandwidth savings or reduce OpEx.”
We predict usage of HEVC will surge even higher in 2020. Look out for our upcoming “2020 Global Media Formats Report" for more insight.