UN Telecommunications agency backs H.265

A UN telecommunications agency has announced that its members have agreed upon a new compression format that could dramatically cut the amount of internet bandwidth currently used by video files.

Dubbed H.265, the codec requires just half the amount of data needed by its predecessor, H.264 and could save the world’s networks from being clogged.

Of course the codec is already being used, the Geneva-based agency, which says videos encoded using the H.264 format currently account for two-fifths of web traffic.

Official endorsement by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) is seen as important to getting worldwide adoption for the standard.

The ITU said that the codec would pave the way for “the next wave of innovation,” such as faster movie downloads and higher-quality video streaming.

“HEVC will lead to a brand new era of innovation with video broadcasting, one that spans the entire communication technology spectrum, including Ultra HD (4K) TV and mobile devices,” said the ITU in a statement.

Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary, said in a statement that the old H264/ MPEG-4 standard had contributed much to the rapid expansion of today’s global video streaming ecosystem. He noted the broad adoption of H.264 among digital broadcasters, who chose to forgo using their own proprietary standards in favour of the open standard, something that helped to make codec incompatibility a thing of the past.

“The digital video industry is now reliant on the ITU setting a global benchmark for video codecs, and for this reason there is no doubt in my mind that H.265 will be as effective, if not more so, than the previous standard,” said Touré.

The ITU said that HEVC H265 is a reliable, flexible and robust codec, future-proofed and capable of supporting digital video broadcasting for the next decade. It added that the codec has been designed to incorporate advanced streaming resolutions and will be slowly phased in over the next couple of years, as services and high-end products begin to outgrow the limitations of current display and network technology.