… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1657: Will the VVC Codec Succeed?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

VVC has the possibility to succeed, but not for a couple of years.

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Last week, Tip #1629 introduced the new VVC codec. This codec is designed to take the place of HEVC going forward. But, is it any good?

Jan Ozer, a technology writer and compressionist whom I respect a lot, recently took a deep dive into this subject for TechRadar.com. Here are some of his thoughts.

  • What’s the codec’s comparative efficiency? It is advertised as half the bandwidth of HEVC. Jan measures it closer to 30%. However, the reason publishers typically adopt new codecs like HEVC is because they open markets for new customers.
  • What new markets or platforms does the codec enable? Looking back, H.264 was very quickly deployed by streaming publishers because it enabled delivery to mobile devices, which the previous codec, VP6, didn’t. Similarly, most of the publishers that deploy HEVC do so to send 4K SDR/HDR videos to SmartTVs, a market they couldn’t affordably serve with H.264.

As we’ll discuss in a moment, VVC is at least 2-3 years out from meaningful deployments. Perhaps at that time 8K or VR will be new and compelling markets, though it’s generally acknowledged that without high dynamic range, 4K video is tough to distinguish from HD in most configurations. Best case, at this point, we just don’t know if VVC will enable any new markets or not.

Jan goes on to analyze seven more questions to help determine whether a codec will be successful. These include:

  • How is encoding time?
  • Can VVC be implemented in software on relevant platforms?
  • Does the Alliance for Open Media (AOM) support the codec?
  • Is the codec a MPEG standard?
  • What’s the technology ownership and monetization model?
  • How set is the royalty structure?
  • Is there a content royalty?

The article is excellent, readable and informative. The short take: “If you’re a streaming producer worried about missing the boat on VVC, file that concern in the “worry about in 2022” file.


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