Fraunhofer’s new video codec promises 50% bit rate savings over HEVC

Fraunhofer has officially announced its new video coding standard, H.266/Versatile Video Coding (VVC), which it said offers significant performance improvements over current standards.

The organization said VVC has improved compression and reduces data requirements by around 50% of the bit rate relative to H.265/High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), meaning faster video transmission for equal perceptual quality. VVC provides transmission and storage for video resolutions including SD, HD, 4K and 8K while supporting high dynamic range video and omnidirectional 360-degree video.

Fraunhofer said VVC’s added efficiency makes it ideal for video transmission in mobile networks where data capacity is more limited. The organization said H.265/HEVC requires ca. 10 gigabytes of data to transmit a 90-min UHD video, whereas VVC would require only 5 gigabytes of data.

“After dedicating almost three years toward this standard, we are proud to have been instrumental in developing H.266/VVC," said Benjamin Bross, head of the Video Coding Systems group at Fraunhofer HHI and editor of the standard specification of H.266/VVC, in a statement. “Because of the quantum leap in coding efficiency offered by H.266/VVC, the use of video will increase further worldwide. Moreover, the increased versatility of H.266/VVC makes its use more attractive for a broader range of applications related to the transmission and storage of video.”

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"If you consider that Fraunhofer HHI already played a key role in the development of the previous video coding standards H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC, then we are happy with the fact that more than 50% of the bits on the Internet are generated by a Fraunhofer HHI technology,” said Dr. Detlev Marpe, head of the Video Coding and Analytics department at Fraunhofer HHI, in a statement.

The organization plans to implement a licensing model based on the FRAND principle (i.e., fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) for the use of standard essential patents related to H.266/VVC. For this purpose, the Media Coding Industry Forum (MC-IF) was founded. In addition to Fraunhofer Society, the MC-IF now includes more 30 companies and organizations like Apple, Beamr, CableLabs, Dolby, HEVC Advance, Nokia, Orange, Sony and Tencent. The new chips required for the use of H.266/VVC, such as those in mobile devices, are currently being designed and Dr. Thomas Schierl, head of the Video Coding and Analytics department at Fraunhofer HHI, said that this fall Fraunhofer will publish the first software for both encoder and decoder to support H.266/VVC.