Advantages and disadvantages of H.265 (HEVC)
If you are like us, a fan of video streaming and obsessed with image quality, you have surely noticed that most of the time the videos come with the H.264 codec, the standard today. However, you have surely also noticed that, with the growing popularity of UHD (4K and 8K) content, a new codec known as H.265 has started to appear. Why is this happening and what is the difference between these two codecs? Keep reading, we will explain it to you.
With H.265 we are in front of what will be the new video compression standard. That is already a reality and this is something that has no turning back. Why? Well, because, in a nutshell, H.265 halves the bandwidth required for video transmission without reducing image quality, which is essential in this age where the demand for UHD video continues to grow exponentially. H.265 enables both providers and customers to reduce costs per bandwidth usage.
In summary, we are talking about a highly efficient video coding (HEVC) method that allows streaming UHD audiovisual content with a much lower file size. So H.265 manages to achieve the same video quality, and even more, as H.264 but at half the bit rate. For example, a 30 minute video in FULL HD that weighs 1GB, to say a random number, can be reduced to 500 megabytes if using H.265. And the most important thing is that the video quality will not suffer any reduction.
The most benefited then with this new codec will be the users of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, who will enjoy a more optimized video stream in their web browsers.
The Coronavirus pandemic caused internet traffic to rise 32% in 2020 and internet video streaming was responsible for 71% of all traffic. That is why reducing the size of video files is essential.
H.265 has been approved by Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and by the vast majority of telecommunications companies and producers of electronic devices, so it is only a matter of time for this new codec to become the new industry standard and finally replace H.264. Nowadays, most 4K TVs support H.265 natively and popular players like VLC already support this codec.
Other benefits of H.265
In addition to reducing the final file size, H.265 offers many other advantages such as:
- H.265 supports videos up to 8K at 300 fps (frames per second), while H.264 only supports videos up to 4K at 60 fps.
- H.265 has better motion tracking algorithms than H.264.
- H.265 has fewer errors and noise which increases image quality over H.264.
The problem with H.265
Not everything is advantageous when we talk about H.265, we have to be honest. There is a reason why this codec, although approved since 2013, has not been 100% adopted.
The rationale is because compression algorithms can become complex and much more computing power is needed. This means that exporting a video in H.265 takes much longer than if we tried to export the same video in H.264. However, if we take into account that computer hardware improves at an incredible speed and that more videos are usually decoded (played) than encoded (produced) it is only a matter of time for H.265 to be the industry standard.