HEVC: The next evolution in delivering video anywhere

by | Aug. 22, 2012

By Jim O'Neill, Research Analyst

Operators looking to cash in on delivering video to multiple screens have been talking about HEVC (high efficiency video coding) for a long time. Developers say the new video coding standard — H.265 — would reduce bit rate requirements of the current standard, H.264, by half, and deliver the same quality video.

At the Cable Show in Boston this year, Motorola, which has been a participant in HEVC’s development,  talked about its plans for an end-to-end product line, set-top boxes, tablets, smartphones and encoders. Moto says the new standard – which is expected to be ratified in January -- will support everything from streaming and on-demand video to ultra-HDTV. It also will cut the bandwidth needed to stream on 3G, 4G, LTE and Wi-Fi in half, too… which really opens up the ecosystem.

Today, Ericsson announced its first (and perhaps the world’s first) HEVC encoder. The company said the encoder allows forthe delivery of live and linear TV over mobile networks, to mobile devices, and can deliver video at resolutions up to HD.

Parks Associates research shows that the growth of video consumption on tablets and mobile phones have far outpaced that of computer and TV viewing, and that TV Everywhere is now available to 86% of pay-TV subscribers. Ericsson’s own ConsumerLab research shows that as much as 50 per cent of the TV/video consumption on smartphones is done out of the home, up 5 per cent since 2011.

“There is an immediate need for new video compression solutions that enable high quality pictures over mobile networks, while keeping bandwidth and storage costs as low as possible,” said Ericsson’s Giles Wilson.

Consumer viewing habits are changing quickly. Increasingly, in addition t their TV screen, they want consume content on other devices, whether in the home via Wi-Fi or using mobile 3G and 4G networks.

An operator earlier this year told me that until TV Everywhere was readily available anywhere, it was, essentially, nowhere. HEVC makes it a lot cheaper to deliver that video experience. So technically, it can be anywhere.

The next hurdle, of course, is to get content owners onboard, and to help them find ways that can monetize their product without breaking the operator-bank.



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