H.265 Video Compression – the Next Big Thing

Marco Cardazzi

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On December 2nd In IP Solutions, Video Surveillance
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As our industry continues the growth in the usage of IP surveillance cameras, various video compression formats have been commonly used to reduce the network bandwidth needed to transmit the images and to shrink the size of the stored video images.

Originally, most IP cameras and encoders used some form of the M-JPEG (Motion – Joint Photographic Experts Group) compression protocol. The advantage of M-JPEG is that each pixel of each captured image is transmitted.

More recently, camera vendors have been providing the programmable option of using either MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Experts Group) and/or H.264 compression. These differ from M-JPEG in one substantial way; to reduce the size of the transmitted video stream and the related storage required. These compression formats don’t necessarily transmit every pixel, instead the basic function of these formats is to transmit a stream of video consisting of the regular sending of a complete image followed by a certain number of partial images that only include any changes in the scene from the last complete image that was sent. MPEG-4 was the first of these types of formats, with H.264 being an upgraded version.

One of the primary issues for security dealers when using H.264 video compression is that viewing computers and devices must have sufficient processing power to reconstruct the compressed video feeds into usable video.

As 4K or Ultra High Definition video becomes available in our market, it is anticipated that many device manufacturers will be providing their video products with High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), which is also called H.265. This new compression format was standardized in 2013 by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) as ISO/IEC 23008-2 MPEG-H Part 2 and ITU-T H.265.

Lettering and jargon aside, the H.265 compression standard is capable of doubling the data compression ratio versus H.264, and can support resolutions up to 8192×4320.

With these strengths it’s likely that H.265 compression will soon become available in higher-end IP video cameras, particularly those that can provide higher than 1080i or p resolutions. As with the usage of H.264 devices, security installation companies need to verify that the viewing computers, VMS systems, and network storage are capable of handling the H.265 video streams for live viewing and forensic use.

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