Committee produces HEVC/H.265 MPEG codec draft specification

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The 99th MPEG meeting was held in San Jose, California, USA, from the 6th to the 10th of February 2012

High Efficiency Video Coding achieves first formal milestone toward completion
• HEVC reaches formal ISO/IEC committee draft status

ISO/IEC’s Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is pleased to announce the completion of the ISO/IEC committee draft of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard developed by the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC), a joint team between MPEG and the ITU-T’s Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG). The committee draft was approved for balloting at the 99th MPEG meeting and is the first formal ISO/IEC milestone in the HEVC project. HEVC, also known informally as H.265, is expected to be submitted for final standardization approval in January 2013, and will be delivered as Part 2 of a new suite of standards known as MPEG-H (ISO/IEC 23008).

The design of HEVC, the next generation of video compression standards, incorporates the latest state-of-the-art technologies and algorithmic advances to address the persistent demand for broader usage of video content, video migration to broadband networks, diversification of mobile devices, ever-higher resolutions for cameras and displays, and increasingly high video quality.

HEVC is the latest in a series of video compression standards that began almost 20 years ago with MPEG-1 (ISO/IEC 11172-2) widely used in Video CD, MPEG-2 (ITU-T Recommendation H.262 | ISO/IEC 13818-2) that resulted in the creation of digital television broadcasting and video distribution as it is known today, MPEG-4 Visual (ISO/IEC 14496-2) broadly used in internet-connected and mobile devices, and the AVC standard (ITU-T Recommendation H.264 | ISO/IEC 14496-10) which provided a compelling advantage in compression capability compared to MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 Visual by incorporating new advances in the state of the art of compression technology designs.

The HEVC project was formally launched in January 2010 following studies by both MPEG and VCEG to assess the readiness and availability of technology simultaneously with an analysis of industry needs for a new standard, and approval by the SC 29 and SG 16 higher-level committees to launch the JCT-VC. The primary goal of the project is to develop the next generation video coding standard that could achieve the same level of video quality with a substantial savings (e.g. reduction by half) relative to the bit rate required by AVC. Initial measurements of the capability of HEVC, at this stage, indicate that its performance is already meeting or exceeding the targets set by this goal.

Audio event highlights technology for 3D audio

At its 99th meeting, MPEG has successfully hosted a workshop focused on MPEG-H 3D Audio which is planned to be Part 3 of the new MPEG-H (ISO/IEC 23008) suite of standards – “High Efficiency Media Coding and Dynamic Media Delivery.”

The workshop began with an overview of MPEG-H, presented by MPEG experts, followed by presentations covering three focus areas for 3D Audio. For the first of these areas, Mark Richer, President of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) spoke on the vision for ATSC 3.0 and the Future of Broadcast Television (FoBTV). The next area featured content providers, with Akio Ando, NHK, speaking on 22.2 multichannel sound for Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV), Jim Kutzner, of Public Broadcasting Service and Chair of ATSC 3.0, speaking on Next Generation Broadcast Television, and Brian Vessa, Sony Pictures Entertainment, speaking on New Heights in Multichannel Sound: Explorations and Considerations. The third area featured technology experts, with Jeongil Seo, ETRI, speaking on Realistic audio representation technologies for UHDTV, Jean-Marc Jot, DTS, speaking on Backward-compatible 3D audio coding, and Christophe Chabanne, of Dolby Laboratories, speaking on Innovating beyond 5.1 More than 100 technical experts attended the event.

In addition to the part for 3D Audio, MPEG-H will include standards for Systems and Video, and will grow to further accommodate industry needs. On-going activities such as MPEG Media Transport (MMT) and High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) will become Part 1 and Part 2, respectively, of this standard suite.

MPEG-2 Systems amended to enable signaling of stereoscopic video

At the 99th MPEG meeting, a new amendment to MPEG-2 Systems, ISO/IEC 13818-1 AMD 7 has been completed to support signaling of various types of stereoscopic content carried in MPEG-2 Transport Stream (TS) including both a frame compatible arrangement (both views for the left and right eyes are carried in a single video frame) and a service compatible arrangement (both views for the left eye and the right eye are carried in the signal, but only one view is used for monoscopic services). The amendment also provides signaling of mixed contents having both monoscopic and stereoscopic contents in the same program. As this signaling is agnostic to the use of specific codec, this amendment will enable the harmonized signaling of stereoscopic contents in various environments.

New font technologies adopted for use in multiple platforms

MPEG has completed its work on the Composite Font Representation Format, ISO/IEC 14496-28 to standardize an XML-based representation of fonts allowing the linking of multiple font resources into a single virtual “Composite Font”. MPEG has also finalized the text of the second amendment of ISO/IEC 14496-22 “Open Font Format” that is widely used in many different platforms, operating systems, and software implementations. It has already been adopted by multiple industry standards including Open Mobile Alliance, Java Community Process, W3C Web Fonts recommendation, and the EPUB3 standard that was recently ratified by International Digital Publishing forum.

Graphics Tool Library enables flexible decoder configuration

At its 99th meeting, MPEG promoted to the committee draft stage its new Graphics Tool Library (GTL), which is specific to synthetic 3D graphics and completes the already standardized Video Tool Library (VTL) in the Reconfigurable Multimedia Coding (RMC) framework provided in ISO/IEC 23002-4. GTL specifies Functional Units (FUs) for the compression of static and animated 3D graphic objects. This technology enables the decoder to be built at the terminal, and possibly reconfigured dynamically at run-time, by connecting the appropriate FUs from the GTL.