How does H.265 work? When will H.265 come?

The news of a new codec coming has been going around for the last weeks now. But what does it really mean and how will it change the business?  Well let’s start at where this is coming from and how the history of H.265 actually looks like at the table below.

Release ITU ID MPEG Label ISO Number
 1988  H.261  MPEG-1 Video  11172-2
 1994  H.262  MPEG-2 Video  13818-2
 1996  H.263  MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP  14496-2
 2003  H.264  MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC  14496-10

Throughout the development of these codecs it was always the target to keep the quality of a video signal and to reduce their data size by applying intelligent algorithms. The complexity of these algorithms has increased and H.265 will have the most complex rules of codecs developed so far.

Codec, videoconference, video, conference, telepresence, red, bus, car, street, photo, movie, wheel, steel, rubber, h.265, h265, hevc, new, protocol, example, examples, creative, commons, licence, wiki, intelligent, mpeg, iso, itu


What is the main benefit of H.265?

H.265 will provide equal H.264 video quality but will reduce the required bandwidth for video conferencing or immersive telepresence by around 50% (more or less – depending on content in the video signal). This means that there could be twice as much video conferences going on simultaneously in a corporate network at the same quality. For all those who have been limited to a low bandwidth for video conferencing so far it can also mean that you can finally migrate to use HD video resolution and audio as clear as it has been never before.

When is H.265 coming?

There are no clear dates written in stone but so far H.265 is expected to be build into devices in 2013 and is expected to be a new standard in 2014.

What needs to be done to be ready for H.265?

More complex codecs usually require more computing power than the ones that were used previously. So in order to deliver the same quality at less data bandwidth it is very likely that also new hardware will be needed to use H.265. As for now the major video conferencing system producers have not announced a new series of H.265 endpoints but we will keep you posted.

Snorre Kjesbu and Thomas Wyatt of Cisco demonstrate H.265 at the Cisco Collaboration Summit


This post is also available in: German