TranSPORT: HEVC Master Class Gives Crash Course in New Compression Standard

At Tuesday’s TranSPORT in New York City, talk of HEVC was everywhere: the center of a spirited discussion on next-gen transmission, the possible future of multiscreen distribution, the potential missing piece in the 4K-to-home workflow.

However, for all the possibilities of HEVC, there are just as many questions.

Matthew Goldman, SVP of TV compression technology, Ericsson, shed light on the new compression standard during his afternoon HEVC Master Class. HEVC, or H.265, is a new standardized compression algorithm that aims to deliver the same picture quality for half the bitrate of AVC.

Matthew Goldman, Ericsson

Matthew Goldman, Ericsson

“This is an evolution of AVC, not a revolution,” says Goldman. “It continues along the path of Moore’s Law: Dr. Gordon Moore, CTO of Intel, predicted in the early 1960s that there would be a doubling of transistor technology every 18 to 24 months. Fifty years later, that’s still true today, and that’s really where a lot of these video-compression advances come from.”

Although the first HEVC standard was completed in January 2013, the compression standard has been implemented in only a handful of software-based applications.

Goldman’s presentation discussed development timelines and projected HEVC adoption, compression-bitrate targets, and a side-by-side comparison of HEVC with AVC and MPEG-2. He concluded by projecting that HEVC roll-out will occur at different times for different market segments, requiring a mature ecosystem to be in place. However, adoption of the standard will greatly improve bandwidth efficiency.

“Why is HEVC better than AVC or, for that matter, MPEG-2?” said Goldman. “Again, it comes down to Dr. Moore’s Law. More processing in parallel. More memory to store things in, which means you can have more encoding tools and more encoding options.

“In MPEG-2, you only had one wrench or screwdriver,” he continued. “In AVC, you’ve got a handful more of those screwdrivers. In HEVC, you have many more of those, so you can pick the right tool for the right job.”

To download a PDF of Goldman’s presentation, CLICK HERE.

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