There’s a new savior on the horizon for those facing the onslaught of video bits over that last wireless mile. But it’s not gear, it’s just a new video codec. The ITU has formally approved H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC, which will join MPEG-4’s H.264 in the industry’s content delivery toolbox.
HEVC supposedly is about 50% more efficient than MPEG-4, which means measurably fewer bits for the same quality of picture have to traverse that last mile. While higher and higher speed fiber and DOCSIS solutions seem able to keep pace with the demand and the backbone is scaling with 100G and all that, the wireless industry’s almost frantic scramble for spectrum can use every ally it can get. After all, there’s only so much spectrum out there and finding ways to use it more effectively is just as critical as freeing up more of it.
Indeed, folks expect the new standard to be of greatest utility for video delivery to smartphones and such. It doesn’t change the overall equation, as video traffic isn’t going to start going down or anything. It’s just that perhaps it won’t snowball quite as quickly with HEVC. And that might reduce the tension between content and last mile that has been growing of late, e.g. over in France.
So I expect we will see the likes of Akamai, Limelight, Level 3, CDNetworks, and EdgeCast jump on the bandwagon rather quickly, if they haven’t already unofficially prior to the finalization of the new standard.