Factors Influencing Growth of HEVC in the Media and Entertainment Industry
Markets across the board, from content creation and editing to display and rendering, are evaluating the impact that High-efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) will create on their businesses over time. Encoder and transcoder vendors are expected to focus on innovation to establish early leadership and brand value in this new and lucrative field, while service providers may proceed cautiously with an eye on total return on investment. Although AVC is likely to remain dominant over the next five years, HEVC is being evaluated extensively and could make significant inroads. This insight examines the various drivers and restraints relevant to HEVC for various media and entertainment (M&E) applications over a seven-year time frame.
High-efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is a new standard that has been developed to handlecompression for the next generation of high-resolution and ubiquitous video applications.While AVC is the de-facto standard for video across the board today, network congestion isalready a looming issue. It will only get worse as the number of consumers and the amount ofvideo accessed over broadband and wireless connections increases, even as Pay TV serviceproviders seek to push resolution boundaries past high definition (HD) to 4K and beyond.
Since the standard was finalized early this year, industry shows and trade magazines havebeen awash with announcements of products, pilot services, proofs of concepts, andforward-looking predictions. Certainly, there have been significant steps forward in terms ofencoding and transcoding products and cores supporting HEVC. Codec vendors, such asITTIAM, Fraunhofer, NTT DoCoMo, Rovi, and Vanguard, are among those who are shippingfirst-generation encoding cores for HEVC compression. Most of these are presentlysoftware-based, although they may leverage silicon resources for acceleration. All-siliconencoder cores are likely to take at least a year to develop, given the complexity of HEVCencoding, the nascent stage of the technology, as well as the ongoing flux in certain aspects ofthe standard. In terms of encoder products, professional equipment vendors, such as ATEME,Ericsson and Envivio, as well as desktop vendors, such as Cyberlink, have developed theirown H.265 cores. Elemental has successfully powered real time HEVC encoding for video in4K resolution. The density that can be achieved for HEVC encoders is of course orders ofmagnitude lower than comparable AVC densities and its power consumption per channel istoday much higher, but progress will continue to be made. Sales in 2013 have been limited toa few channels purchased by major service providers and content owners for internal evaluationsand proofs of concept. However, market interest is expected to continue to grow in2014 and beyond.
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