Fraunhofer HHI (Heinrich Hertz Institute) today announced the new H.266 codec, also known as the Versatile Video Coding (VVC) codec. The H.266 standard is the result of three years of work from Fraunhofer HHI and its partners.
With an enhanced compression algorithm, the H.266 codec promises to maintain the visual quality of the current H.265 codec, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), but at an about 50% smaller file size. That would make H.266 perfect for efficiently transporting high-resolution content, such as 4K or 8K media, through mobile networks.
Furthermore, the H.266 codec also supports HDR content and 360-degree videos.
Let's put this in perspective. A 90-minute 4K video consumes up to 10GB of space with the current H.265 codec. According to Fraunhofer HHI's figures, the same video with an identical level of quality would only require 5GB of space with H.266. The transition from H.265 to H.266 could indeed be a quantum jump if the latter can deliver on its promise.
In its press release, Fraunhofer HHI said that the CPUs required for H.266, especially the mobile chips, are still in development. This suggests that content used with H.266 may require a hefty amount of firepower to encode or decode. However, encoding might not be a big deal if you're not a content creator, since most are more likely to consume H.266 content than create it.
Dr. Thomas Schierl, head of the Video Coding and Analytics department at Fraunhofer HHI, said that "this autumn Fraunhofer HHI will publish the first software (for both encoder and decoder) to support H.266/VVC."