Tuesday 16 July 2013

H.625 a next generation video compression solution

Very high resolutions videos (4K, 8K ...) are on the horizon, the current compression solutions no longer meet the requirements in near future. One of the most commonly used, the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), if it remains effective with Full HD 1080p, but it is not fully capable and fast enough to decode 4k videos. Earlier this year, the characteristics of a new standard for video encoding have been ratified by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It is called MPEG-2 or H part H.265/HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) codec is intended to provide a comparable image quality H.264, with a reduced rate by half.

There are two ways to decode a video stream 4K Ultra HD; they are through a software-only solution or use a DSP (Digital Signal Processor or math coprocessor) specialized, often the GPU (Graphic Processing Unit), which will charge thousands of calculations to do. The hardware solution is the most efficient and faster. But it is more difficult to integrate into a mobile platform as an iPad or iPhone, because it will consume resources, including power and generate more heat. The 800 CPU Snapdragon Qualcomm recently introduced one of the most advanced solutions for H.265 video decoding. But none of this component based Smartphone is still available. Sony has announced a Smartphone that uses it, but the Xperia Z Full HD Ultra will be available in September. Rumor has it that Samsung sells soon a Snapdragon S4 Galaxy 800's version, but it is not known when it will be released out. Another competitor announced as Smartphone that can play H.265 videos, a model with a ZTE Tegra 4. He seems to have been delayed because announced for the first half of 2013, it is still not available. The only currently available and mobile terminal using the NVIDIA Tegra 4 is a "Tablet" REGZA Tablet AT703 by Toshiba has released in Japan. Unfortunately, the Japanese manufacturer seems to have passed on the H.265 video because it is not equipped with a HEVC/H.265 player.

One may wonder whether this is due to the relative lack of current or H.265 encoded videos in the case of concerns about the battery life. The software solutions side, many companies are currently working on projects or Player SDK (software development kit) allows developers to use the display H.265 video in their applications. But it is currently mainly available as beta, (i.e.) programs not yet finalized and available. IPhone / iPad especially, many companies around the world are working on solutions. Elecard Russian, for example, developed an SDK for different operating systems (iOS / Android / Windows Phone etc) that allow an ARM processor based mobile devices to play videos H.265/HEVC. German Rovi also announced Main Concept SDK HEVC for several OS including Linux, iOS, and Android. At IBC 2012, demos of the SDK were presented. In China, Strongene developing in partnership with Beijing University HEVC/H.265 a solution called xHEVC. A demo of a client for iPhone and iPad is available for download. And in Japan, NTT DoCoMo announced that its technology to disband read HEVC/H.265 videos.

The first really usable solutions will be created before the end of this year. All major companies are working on projects (encoders or decoders, player, system for H.265 video playback software layers etc) companies that develop operating systems (Google, Microsoft ...) first, and specialists in compression, as the French ATEME that sell solutions encoding or decoding video streams to many TV channels and professional dissemination of content on the Net. Apple's side, the engineers are working on video codecs for QuickTime, which will be built into the operating system. Will it be provided to all codecs owners of Mac OS X, or will he buy as additional codecs, as time QuickTime Pro? This will depend on how Apple sees H.265. If California is seen as a successor to H.264, i.e. as a mainstream solution that will gradually replace the majority of the H.264 encoded video on the Net, there is a good chance it is proposed free of charge to all users of Mac OS X. For iOS devices, a software solution would drive to recent iPad and iPhone (because they have a powerful CPU to decode H.265 format) can play H.265 videos with a simple system update. Apple will probably end up offering iPhone and iPad with a hardware solution to encode and decode this format with more performance than a software solution. The D5500 with the PowerVR presented there might just be a welcome applicant. This GPU decoding HEVC/H.265 videos and manages 4K. No mobile phone manufacturer has not yet announced its use so for. It will be remembered, in fact, Apple has established close relations with the British VideoLogic / Imagination, using its chips for many models of its products since the days of the Apple II GS graphics solutions up to its iPhone and iPad. In addition, Apple is one of the investors VideoLogic / Imagination, who in recent years increased its purchases of action to have almost 10% of the company.

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