During a conference at TV Connect MENA this year, which focused on the scope for adoption of the new compression standard HEVC by the Middle East broadcasting sector, Ben Haylock, a consultant with Intigral, made some interesting observations about the efficacy of H.265.
“HEVC means High Efficiency Video Codec, so it not called Ultra-High Definition Codec, or Crystal Clear Video Codec I think what’s important with HEVC is to remember that you can get very efficient use of a given bit rate, but it’s not going to drop bandwidth by half,” Haylock told delegates. “High-definition bitrates can be brought down by 30 to 40% maybe, while standard definition can be dropped by 15 to 20%. In other words, we can reduce the data traffic needed by a fifth and the video still looks the same.”
During the same conference Haylock also pointed out that one of the biggest challenges to HEVC adoption by the industry at large was going to be getting enough of the major Middle East broadcatsers and operators to invest in the technology. “The challenge is to really push the technology out there, just like when MPEG2 took over from the analogue domain, it took people really pushing hard to get those big MPEG2 bandwidths down to smaller ones, when MPEG4 came out, bandwidths dropped again, and where bandwidth didn’t decrease, the quality was greatly enhanced,” said Haylock.
He also told delegates that in the long-term, investment in HEVC would pay off, not only by reducing bandwidth and therefore freeing up space for more channels, or by improving the quality of existing channels, but also because hardware needs would be less. “There are savings when it comes to hardware because HEVC requires less in terms of contribution encoders and contribution links.”