HEVC grabbing attention of vendors eyeing 4K

The High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) HD compression standard has caught the eye of vendors quickly preparing for the next generation of high definition television--4K or UltraHD.

Software provider Envivio announced an HEVC Early Access program for customers who want to implement the new standard and that it is working with Broadcom on HEVC encoder and decoder interoperability. Video delivery infrastructure vendor Harmonic, meanwhile, said it has produced a video about HEVC as part of its VidTech Insider series that addresses the latest video technologies. Both firms plan to highlight their HEVC activities at NAB in Las Vegas next month.

The vendors provide more evidence that the market is getting ready to play in the next generation of high definition television. A new compression standard is needed to handle increased bandwidth demands for 4K, which essentially quadruples today's HD viewing experience. Also known in standards-talk as H.265, HEVC is expected to achieve about a 50 percent bandwidth reduction over the previous standard, MPEG-4 (H.264).

"In IPTV architectures, operators can increase eligibility to reach more customers and second/third screens, while in satellite and cable environments, HEVC can be used to increase the number of channels service providers can deliver in a transport or QAM," the Envivio press release said.

"HEVC offers a number of advantages for operators, most immediately in enabling a high definition experience for multiscreen and OTT at bit rates that meet the bandwidth requirements for those services," Julien Signes, Envivio's president said in the press release.

4K was originally expected to take several more years to reach customers but vendors have been thrust into overdrive by a consumer electronics industry-driven effort to get the new video experience into the market as early as later this year and early next year. That effort has received the backing of the Japanese government, in support of the large base of TV and other video delivery manufacturers that fuel the country's economy.

Broadcom, bringing silicon to the play, is collaborating with Envivio with a sense of urgency, said John Gleiter, vice president of marketing for set-top products in the Envivio press release.

"Our collaboration with Envivio speeds time to market for operators seeking to implement the latest CODEC standards," Gleiter said. "Together we are able to enhance the user experience, both for multi-screen and the future addition of UltraHD 4K video, which take the in-home HD viewing experience to a whole new level."

Harmonic, meanwhile, is taking things back to the basics with a video that it said in a press release "provides viewers with a brief definition of the new compression standard in addition to examining its numerous benefits and applications."

For more:
- Envivio issued this press release
- and Harmonic issued this press release

Related articles:
HBO CTO skeptical about future value of 3DTV, 4K
OKI successfully transmits 4K content over IPTV network
IPTV's foundation could make it an HEVC winner, says Rovi exec

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