H.266/VVC: What is it and why it is important
July 8, 2020

A look at the video encoding algorithms used by smartphones. 

Just this week, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute has announced the official release of the H.266/Versatile Video Coding (VVC) as a successor to H.265 HEVC. These are usually video compression codecs that allow the quality of the video to be kept at high quality even when the small file size.

Over the years, smartphone cameras have become more advanced thanks to the upgraded optics. Smartphones initially were able to record video in only VGA or lower quality but today, you can see an iPhone or a Huawei device shoot up to 4K 60fps video. Generally, the file size for these videos tends to be big – reaching multiple gigabytes for just a few minutes of video.

When the iPhone gained the ability to shoot video in 4K 60fps, it also introduced the H.265 HEVC codec, which allowed the device to shoot high-quality video at less than half the file size. This means that your storage won’t get immediately full despite shooting multiple videos. 

That was a couple of years ago. Today, the introduction of H.266/VVC means improved file compression. As an example, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute said that a 4K video shot using the H.265 HEVC codec will translate to 10 gigabytes of space for a 90-minute video. Compare that to the new H.266/VVC codec, which can shoot the same 90-minute video but will only occupy 5 gigabytes of space.

The standardization of the H.266/VVC codec also meant that 4K and even 8K streaming will soon be a possibility. 4K streaming already is possible with services from Netflix and YouTube – so imagine how 8K will be the default viewing resolution in the future.

That being said, adoption is still slow. H.265 HEVC was introduced by Apple in 2017 with iOS 11, even though the codec was already available as early as 2013. That means that it could take years before H.266/VVC will be adapted as a default standard.

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. When he’s not busy playing with the latest games, Victor usually spends his time collecting Blu-rays and building his own movie library. As the Online Editor for T3 Middle East, he develops and writes content for www.T3ME.com which includes reviews, features, and videos in addition to managing its social media and web content.
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