After several years of research, Fraunhofer HHI has announced that the Versatile Video Codec (H.266/VVC) standard has been finilized. This was done with the help of several high profile partners: Apple, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Sony.

H.266 promises to cut file sizes in half (same for bandwidth requirements for streaming) while maintaining the same visual quality as H.265/HEVC. That’s a massive improvement – keep in mind that something like 80% of all Internet traffic is streaming video.

The new codec can handle anything from SD to 8K as well as 360° videos, all with HDR, of course. This codec is suitable not just for regular video, but also for screen sharing and game streaming applications. It has been designed with high resolutions in mind, so its benefits will be most tangible at 4K and above.

The first software encoder and decoder will be published this autumn. Hardware encoders and decoders are also being designed (these are a must-have for mobile applications, but also TV boxes).

As previous standards H.26x standards, H.266 will be licensed under FRAND terms. This generation of video codecs has some royalty-free options too – like the open-source AV1 and the base EVC implementation.

The curious among you can take a peek at the technologies that H.266 is based on (and yes, machine learning is one of them – AI is everywhere these days).

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