Cutting the bitrate with Versatile Video Coding
The development of video compression will be key to enabling tomorrow’s Ultra HD (8K resolution), VR/AR and 360° video technologies. Below, we follow the progress of the Versatile Video Coding standard which, when finalized in 2020, is expected to reduce the bitrate by roughly half.
Last week I had the pleasure of hosting the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) in my hometown Gothenburg, Sweden. Ericsson was the main sponsor of the event which had attracted a record number 600+ delegates. Together with experts from other countries, we were busy developing new audiovisual and immersive media standards suitable for mobile networks and 5G services.
A first milestone for Versatile Video Coding
The event marked the first milestone on the journey to completion of the next major video coding standard Versatile Video Coding (VVC) with the issuing of a Committee Draft. When finalized in 2020, VVC will provide the same subjective quality at roughly half the bitrate of its predecessor High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).
The importance of developing video compression cannot be overstated. Video is the top driver of network traffic and is forecast to account for 74% of all mobile data traffic in 2024 (Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2019). However, VVC has not only been designed to cut the bitrate of HEVC, it has also been developed with a focus on new features, such as High Dynamic Range and Virtual Reality. It expected to be a key enabler for Ultra-High Definition with 8K resolution as well as immersive video applications using VR/AR and 360° video.
Driving compression standards for tomorrow’s services
Established in 1988, MPEG sets the global standards for audio and visual compression and transmission. The development of VVC, which currently attracts the most experts in MPEG, is carried out in the Joint Video Expert Team (JVET) between MPEG, part of ISO/IEC, and the Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG), part of ITU. Other exciting areas in MPEG of current interest include point cloud compression for volumetric video, VR/AR, immersive audio coding and solutions for streaming of audiovisual data.
At Ericsson, we have contributed for more than 20 years to MPEG, in which time we have also hosted several meetings. In July 2012 we invited MPEG to Stockholm when it was time to issue HEVC as Draft International Standard. More recently we have also been active in creating a related organization, the Media Coding Industry Forum (MC-IF), whose goal it is to further the adoption of MPEG Standards, initially focusing on VVC. We firmly believe that VVC has great potential and we are very proud to be part of it.
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