H.266 video codec finally let you stream 8K and 4K video content without laying waste to your data cap
The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute recently announced the new h.266 standard for video compression. The new codec promises video quality equivalent to H.265, but at half the bit rate. According to the institute, a feature-length 4K video will take up just 5GB of storage if encoded with H.266, compared to over 10GB with H.265.
The Institute was quoted saying that the new codec was designed with 4K and 8K televisions in mind. This means that beaming 8K video streams was definitely part of the thought process here. It’s interesting to note that the adoption of the H.265 standard closely tracked the adoption of 4K televisions.
This is because a number of streaming video providers mandated H.265 encoding for their 4K streams. H.264 4K content would’ve simply needed too much bandwidth to make sense.
While there’s plenty of hype around the possibility of 8K streaming thanks to H.266, we think the real benefit here will be in terms of quality 4K content. 4K H.265 shows and movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime look decent. But even a 1080p Blu-ray trumps them in terms of quality, especially in moving scenes. H.266 could enable us to stream 4K content without compromising on quality.
There’s no word yet about when H.266 will be adopted. We don’t expect the standard to gain traction for at least another 2-3 years, unfortunately.