10 Sep 2009

H.264 Advanced Video Compression (also known as MPEG-4 Part 10) is widely accepted as a leading video compression standard. Other formats such as VC-1 and AVS can (arguably) offer similar performance but H.264 is definitely a front runner in terms of coding efficiency. First standardized in 2003, H.264/AVC is now a mature technology. So what is next ?

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) are examining the need for a new video compression standard. At the recent MPEG meeting (June 2009), several proposals for improved video compression were presented. The consensus was that (a) there is likely to be a need for a new compression format, as consumers demand higher-quality video and as processing capacity improves and (b) there is potential to deliver better performance than the current state-of-the art.

The current plan is to set up a Joint Collaborative Team (JCT) of MPEG and VCEG representatives to work on a new video coding standard. Proposals for the new standard will be reviewed in early 2010 and a new standard could be finalized around 2012/2013. It will aim to deliver significantly better compression performance than H.264/AVC, probably at a higher computational cost. Its working title ? High Performance Video Coding or Enhanced Performance Video Coding.

- Iain.