ITU group OKs H.265 video standard to cut bandwidth use in half

The standard, also known as HEVC, can send HD video at half the bit rate of H.264

An ITU group has approved a successor to the H.264 video encoding standard, opening the door to future video transmission using only half the bandwidth that's now required.

The International Telecommunication Union's H.265 standard is intended to help keep video flowing among smartphones, tablets, TVs and other devices as screen resolutions increase over the next 10 years. It should help to reduce the burden on wired and wireless networks, where video makes up a substantial portion of today's traffic. Vendors and service providers are expected to phase in the new standard gradually as products and services outgrow the limitations of current technology.

The current specification, also known as MPEG-4, is the most used video compression standard in the world, according to the ITU. It's the coding and decoding system for more than 80 percent of all Web video and is used to deliver high-definition video over broadcast, cable, satellite and Internet Protocol TV. H.264 is also used in mobile phones, videoconferencing, digital storage and Blu-Ray discs.

On Friday, the ITU-T's Study Group 16 gave first-stage approval to H.265, informally known as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding). Work continues on extensions to the standard, which eventually may include 3-D video encoding. Companies including Broadcom, Ericsson and Mitsubishi have shown implementations of the new standard, the ITU said.

Last August, Ericsson announced what it called the first live TV video encoder compatible with H.265. It predicted that the product, called the SVP 5500 HEVC encoder, would first be used to deliver TV over mobile networks.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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