Is it possible to stream high quality video despite having a poor internet connection? With the newly released (July 2020) Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard, now it is! Benjamin Bross, head of the Video Coding Systems group at Fraunhofer HHI and editor of VVC, gives us the inside scoop.
Fraunhofer HHI played a key role in developing the new H.266/VVC standard. Mr. Bross, what is special about this new standard?
Compared to its predecessor (H.265/HEVC), VVC reduces the required bit rate by 50%. In other words, it is much more efficient at compressing data. Therefore, even with a slow Internet connection, VVC enables the streaming and viewing of high-definition video. VVC also benefits smartphone users by reducing the consumption of data volume when streaming video.
So, the main benefit of VVC is the efficiency at compressing data?
This is an important benefit, but not the only one. VVC also offers flexibility, as reflected in its name (“versatile”). It is the first standard that is suitable for a range of applications: from game videos or virtual reality to video conferencing and teaching. The last two have been recently proven to be of critical importance in face of a pandemic.
Each application has specific requirements for the compression algorithms, which were taken into account in the development of VVC.
What is the current status of the standard?
In July, the standard was finalized by ITU-T and ISO/IEC. We plan to present the first efficient implementations in software at the IBC trade fair. The necessary hardware (e.g., chips that reduce battery consumption on smartphones) should be available in 2021.