WTF is HEVC?

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) or H.265 is a new draft video compression standard and the successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding). Under development by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group and ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group, HEVC is designed for encoding (converting) and decoding (playing) video streams that can be stored and delivered more efficiently and economically. Simply put, HEVC can deliver the same visual quality as H.264 with about half the bitrate.

As of today, HEVC is officially ratified by the ITU Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). And since we’re one of the leaders in digital video, we have already been working on developing the next-generation DivX video profile based on this new H.265-based standard (get a refresher on existing DivX profiles). Once deployed in software and licensed to consumer electronics companies, we’ll be among the first to deliver tools to create HEVC content and DivX Certified devices on which to play it back.

Combined with core technology components from our MainConcept team (it’s kind of awesome to have some of the most talented codec experts in the same company), our technology will help developers who serve the professional content creation, broadcast, mobile and consumer industries make their videos, software, services and devices HEVC-compatible. Our expertise helps companies in this space quickly adopt the new HEVC standard in order to bring you an overall better video experience.

WHY IT MATTERS
HEVC can provide comparable quality to H.264 video today, and then some. More importantly, the compression technology can maintain visual quality but shrink the video into nearly half the file size. This is possible because of HEVC’s new compression techniques to maintain quality at lower bitrates, and it means that the new standard will let content owners store more video and allow broadcasters and retailers to stream it more efficiently across networks. With the explosion in online video and more connected devices than ever waiting to decode this content, avid video consumers like us will be on the receiving end of more and better video entertainment streamed directly to all our devices.

Those who enjoy watching videos on smartphones but are wary of the data bill will benefit most, as the expense of digital video delivery over mobile networks is reduced. Also, as devices start supporting HEVC playback at the chip level (with DivX Certification, naturally), the processing power required to play these videos will decrease, saving battery life and, in general, improving our experience with mobile video.

In short, HEVC promises to improve video quality, support up to 8K resolutions, almost double the video compression ratio or deliver same quality video using 40-50 percent less bandwidth. Now that’s worth bragging out.

WHAT WE’RE DOING
Of course we can’t let the cat completely out of the bag, but we’ll let her poke her whiskers out so you have a tiny glimpse into what our team is planning for HEVC in 2013. The next version of our DivX Plus Software will support the new DivX HEVC profile so you can very easily convert video into the new format. To get a head start on content creation (because content really is king and drives the distribution of consumer electronics devices), we will start to release some early tools for our developer community to play around with in a few months. Then we’ll package up our technology into an SDK for consumer electronics partners to license later this year, and develop a rigorous testing methodology to ensure that devices certified under this new profile can deliver the high-quality video experience our consumers expect from our brand. To sum it up, you get tools to create HEVC content, devices for playback and a better streaming experience to connected devices in your home and on the go. What more could you want?

Keep checking our site, “like” DivX on Facebook or join our email list or to keep up to date. Who knows, maybe you’ll be invited to test out some of what we’ve been working on soon.

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