Why the New H.266/VCC Video Codec Is a Massive Deal

The brand new H.266 video codec is a reasonably large deal. You may’t play with it but—tempted as you could be to go set up Handbrake and delight in video encodes which can be half the scale of your already-optimized H.265 movies—however its very existence will velocity up the eventual transition to 8K HDR video. And that’s a great factor, proper?


If you happen to’re scratching your head, right here’s why H.266 goes to quickly change your multimedia world.

What the heck is H.266?

H.266 (also referred to as VVC) is a video codec. Codecs are software program that compress and decompress video recordsdata to allow them to take up much less area when saved on a tough drive and fewer bandwidth when transferred over a community, amongst different issues.

Based on BBC R&D (via Extreme Tech), H.266 can shrink recordsdata to 50 p.c smaller than what the present H.265 can obtain, with out affecting video high quality to a noticeable diploma. In different phrases, a 10GB video encoded in H.264 shrinks to a mere 2.5GB—nonetheless a giant chunk of area, however manageable—if you encode it with h.266.


This unimaginable discount in file measurement will do loads to assist playback and streaming of 8K HDR video content material on future TVs, smartphones, and different units. In any case, a typical 8K HDR film may eat up anyplace from 6GB to 20GB per hour when you had been watching it on Netflix at this time. Shrinking that determine all the way down to one-half or one-fourth means extra films and fewer data caps to fret about.

When will H.266 and 8K be a factor?

H.266 will finally exchange the H.265 codec, however right here’s the factor: H.265 by no means totally changed H.264. Meaning there might be an excellent greater bounce in storage effectivity for builders and producers who nonetheless depend on H.264. The one downside is, H.266 requires rather more highly effective for the encoding course of—and even with the precise , H.266 encoding takes a extremely very long time (virtually seven occasions so long as H.265).


That stated, H.266 is poised for (probably) higher adoption fee due to the advantages it brings to 8K video.

8K TVs already exist, however there’s not a lot of a cause to personal them. H.266 will seemingly change that, however the first apps and units that assist the codec are anticipated to launch inside the subsequent couple of years. 8K HDR streaming may comply with shortly after. Nevertheless, if client demand for 8K and content material is excessive sufficient, the turning level may come even sooner.

Count on to see the primary software program decoder and encoder for H.266 this fall.


Does this imply I have to improve?

Since VCC-supported apps and are nonetheless a methods off, and 8K streaming remains to be a logistical pipedream, you gained’t have to improve your units any time quickly. The truth is, chances are you’ll not must for a extremely very long time.

4K streaming and broadcasting only recently hit its stride, but 4K HDR-compatible units have been in the marketplace for years. A part of that slower adoption fee was resulting from bandwidth and video codec bottlenecks, but in addition as a result of 4K content material was arduous to come back by for a very long time (and nonetheless is on many common streaming companies).

Then there’s the difficulty of bodily area—at a certain distance, 4K content does’t look all that much better than full HD content. Moreover, HDR is arguably the larger video high quality improve, and you’ll expertise it with no need a large 4K (or 8K) TV.


The hurdles to widespread 8K adoption are simply as excessive as these 4K TVs confronted, if not greater. Some projections estimate that solely three p.c of TVs purchased by 2023 will be 8K-ready (although H.266 and competing codecs like the royalty-free AV1 may make the transition a lot simpler).

In different phrases, don’t fear in regards to the 8K revolution simply but. The codecs—H.266, AV1, or no matter else comes alongside—are simply the primary steps. We’re simply getting began; no should be an early adopter on this one.