The most popular video codec right now is the H.264 standard since almost all media devices support it. Even video platforms on the web can’t help but add support for this codec, and for good reasons. YouTube, despite having its own, is beholden to H.264, and this won’t change for years to come.
Now, we do not expect it to be the top dog forever as more competitors come on the scene in hopes to replace it. The most notable would likely be the upgraded version, H.265, also known as HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding).
There is also the H.266 codec, but it differs a great deal when compared to the others we’ve just mentioned. Worry not, however, because we are going to explain each for your deeper understanding.
1] What is H.264 codec
This codec has been around since 2009, and for quite some time, it has been the standard. The codec is also known as AVC, MPEG-4 Part 10, and VC-1.
It’s a video compression standard that is designed to playback high-quality video at a small size than RAW and previous standards. We understand the compression ratio is twice that of MPEG-2, which is quite astonishing. It promises to provide high-quality content with no quality loss when compared to other standards.
Basically, if your file size is 88GB, H.264 compression can bring it down to a little over 800MB. Additionally, when compared to other compression technologies, low-bit rate plays an important role. In the end, users will save time when having to download or stream video content at any time.
2] What is H.265/HEVC codec
As you might be able to tell from the name, H.265/HEVC is the upgraded version of the previous, and it is designed to replace it at some time in the future. The new standard was released back in 2013, but only now has been getting huge support due to the rise of 4K.
This will no doubt continue in the years to come as 4K televisions and monitors become more affordable. However, the big question right now, is, what makes H.265 the future?
Well, if you watch 4K content on YouTube, you should realize that it doesn’t hold a candle to the same video on a Bu-Ray disc. That is due to H.264 compression for the most part, and that is something the newer codec wants to solve.
From what we’ve come to understand, HEVC uses more efficient compression methods, therefore, the end content will showcase more detail and fewer artifacts. We all want this, which is why we cannot wait for more hardware manufacturers to support the future standard.
Now, there is one big problem with H.265/HEVC right now. You see, it is quite slow if Hardware Acceleration is not in play. If you want to decode in HEVC, then a powerful computer is required. Intel 6th generation or newer, and AMD 6th generation or newer, are the CPUs you should consider when purchasing a computer for HEVC.
3] What is H.266 codec
The world has yet to fully accept H.265 as the new standard where video codecs are concerned, but already H.266 is being touted Fraunhofer HHI, the company behind all three codecs.
At the moment, we understand that this new codec, also known as Versatile Video Coding (VVC), won’t improve video quality over its predecessor, but is expected to reduce the size. So in a sense, it is the same as H.265, but with a smaller footprint.
When the H.266 codec is adopted in the future, people from around the world may have little problems with streaming 4K content on their favorite platforms. Not to mention, it could help usher in the era of 8K as well.
I hope this explains the subject.