If you’re into video encoding, you’ve probably heard of the h265 codec. It’s been one of the most popular and efficient codecs for years now. But did you know there are some promising new alternative codecs on the horizon that could dethrone h265?
What is the alternative to h265? In this article, I’ll give you the inside scoop on the limitations of h265 and which next-gen video codecs show real potential as replacements. Specifically, I’ll be comparing h265 to AV1 and VVC – two codecs making waves with their ability to deliver superior compression and performance.
Now don’t get me wrong, h265 has been great. Also known as HEVC, it offered a huge boost in compression efficiency over older standards like h264. That allowed us to get videos looking crisp at lower bitrates. But after a decade of dominance, h265 is starting to show its age.
Newer codecs like AV1 and VVC are exploiting cutting-edge techniques in machine learning and video analysis to push the boundaries of quality and compression even further. And hardware/software support for these next-gen codecs is growing rapidly. For many use cases, AV1 or VVC may soon be viable successors to tried-and-true h265.
Now, let’s dive in to find out more information about the alternatives!
What is the alternative to h265?
The alternative to H.265, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), is the next generation video codec called AV1 (1). AV1 offers similar video quality and compression efficiency as H.265, but with the advantage of being royalty-free and open-source. It is gaining popularity and support from major tech companies, making it a promising alternative for video encoding and streaming applications.
Exploring Alternative Video Codecs to H.265 (HEVC)
If you work with video encoding, you’re likely very familiar with the H.265 codec, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). It’s been the gold standard for years. But new alternatives are emerging that can outperform H.265!
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most promising options to potentially replace good ol’ H.265. I’ll tell you all about their compression efficiency, hardware/software support, licensing, and overall performance. Because while H.265 has served us well, it’s starting to show its age compared to next-gen codecs.
First up is the free and open-source AV1 codec. This exciting new format was developed by the Alliance for Open Media, with heavy involvement from Google, Amazon, Netflix and others. And it offers 20-30% better compression than H.265!
AV1 achieves this by using cutting-edge techniques like recurrence, transform, entropy coding, and bigger block partitions. I won’t get too technical, but basically AV1 squeezes more quality out of less data. It’s especially good for 4K and HDR video.
Now AV1 does require beefier hardware for smooth encoding and playback. But support is expanding quickly – it’s now built into many new TVs, smartphones, PCs, browsers and apps. For bleeding-edge compression, AV1 is hard to beat!
Another promising H.265 alternative is VVC, aka Versatile Video Coding (2). As the name implies, it’s super versatile for any type of video content. VVC is the latest project by the Joint Video Experts Team.
Compared to H.265, VVC provides a whopping 50% better compression on average! It achieves this through enhancements to block partitioning, transforms, quantization, filters and more. The details get complex, but VVC edges out AV1 for the best efficiency.
Adoption of VVC is still early, but progressing. Hardware encoding/decoding support is starting to arrive. And key players like Apple, Tencent, Hulu, and more are getting on board. For optimal compression, keep an eye on VVC!
Hardware and Software Support: Alternative Codecs for Different Platforms
We’ve seen how new video codecs like AV1 and VVC leave the compression efficiency of H.265 in the dust. Now let’s compare how hardware and software support is shaping up. H.265 enjoys broad adoption, so how do the alternatives stack up?
Starting with AV1, decoding support is now built into many smart TVs, set top boxes, game consoles, and smartphones. Encoding is still limited, but hardware acceleration is arriving. Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and Arm chips now handle AV1 efficiently.
On the software side, AV1 decode is integrated into major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Media players like VLC also support it. Encoding is available in open-source tools like SVT-AV1 and rav1e. Overall, AV1 support is decent and improving rapidly.
For VVC, hardware and software support is still in earlier stages since it’s newer. But momentum is building quickly. Major companies like Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, Hulu, Google, and more are adopting VVC.
Chips from MediaTek, Intel, Nvidia, and other brands now accelerate VVC encoding/decoding. And it’s being added to media frameworks like FFmpeg, GStreamer, VideoLAN, and more for software implemention. VVC support is coming!
Of course H.265 is still the most universally supported for now. But the rapid adoption of AV1 and VVC on major platforms shows that alternatives are viable for many use cases today, and will only become more commonplace going forward.
The takeaway is this – if you want to work with the most efficient next-gen codecs, build your workflow around platforms embracing AV1 and VVC. Their support is only getting stronger over time.
Now let’s examine whether these new codecs deliver on the performance and quality front when put into practice.
Encoding Quality and Performance: H.265 (HEVC) vs. Alternatives
We’ve covered the improved compression efficiency of emerging codecs AV1 and VVC compared to H.265. But how is their real-world encoding performance and video quality? Let’s compare.
AV1 encoding is generally slower than H.265, so it requires more powerful hardware for viable speed. But with GPU or dedicated encoder acceleration, AV1 can achieve fast performance on par or better than H.265. The visual quality AV1 delivers at low bitrates is superb.
For VVC, encoding speed is also slower than H.265 without hardware support. With acceleration however, it can match or even beat H.265 encoding times while providing top-tier video quality, especially at higher resolutions.
Essentially, both AV1 and VVC require more encoding horsepower than H.265 to deliver their compression improvements. But with proper acceleration, that’s now feasible and the speed/quality gains are well worth it.
In terms of video playback, AV1 and VVC files achieve equivalent or superior smoothness compared to H.265 on supported devices. And they provide huge bandwidth savings for streaming.
The bottom line: when implemented properly on compatible platforms, these new codecs clearly beat H.265 in terms of compression, speed, and overall visual quality. The results speak for themselves – the future of video lies in AV1 and VVC!
Adopting these next-gen standards does require updating workflows and infrastructure. But the long-term benefits are massive. If you work with video, now is the time to start exploring alternatives to H.265.
Now let’s take a look at the next section…
Licensing and Cost Considerations: Free vs. Proprietary Codecs
When choosing a video codec, an important consideration is how licensing and royalties factor in. H.265 is patented technology that requires paying license fees in many cases. How does this compare to free open source options?
A key advantage of AV1 is that it’s completely royalty free. The technology is open source under an Apache 2 license that allows free commercial use. This gives AV1 a major edge for cost and flexibility.
VVC does have some intellectual property restrictions, but licensing terms are designed to be very affordable and accessible. There are caps on yearly fees based on usage levels to prevent high costs.
So while H.265 has reliable performance, its complexity makes licensing expensive. For companies and products using huge volumes of video, required H.265 royalties add up quickly.
The free and low cost nature of AV1 and VVC make them very appealing alternatives for services delivering large amounts of video. Without recurring license payments, they offer major long term savings.
For small scale use, H.265 fees are negligible. But for major organizations and platforms, choosing AV1 or VVC can tremendously reduce overhead costs. Their open source nature really pays dividends.
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Let’s see the real-time use cases for more information…
Performance Comparisons: Live Streaming and Real-Time Use Cases
Beyond general encoding, it’s important to look at how well H.265 and alternative codecs perform for live streaming and real-time video use cases. Smooth performance here is critical.
AV1 encoding can be too slow for low-latency live streaming currently. But its superior compression makes AV1 ideal for prerendered media like video on demand. The Alliance for Open Media is working to improve real-time performance.
VVC shows more promise for streaming and real-time performance when hardware accelerated. With dedicated encoding chips, VVC can achieve low latency comparable to H.265 but with much better efficiency.
For now, H.265 remains the best option if ultra-low latency on simple hardware is needed, like game streaming. But VVC is rapidly closing the gap as hardware improves. Its potential for real-time use is bright.
So while not yet ideal for live streaming, codecs like VVC with improved latency show great promise on the horizon as they mature. And for video on demand, AV1 already excels.
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To sum it up…
The bottom line is that while h265 has served us well, its days as the dominant video encoding standard are likely numbered. Exciting new options like AV1 and VVC are rising up to take the throne as more efficient alternatives.
So if you regularly deal with video encoding, it pays to start learning about and experimenting with these next-gen codecs. Getting a head start with AV1 or VVC will allow you to take full advantage when hardware and software broadly supports them.
And when that happens, you can expect even higher quality video at smaller file sizes. It’s a big win for bandwidth and storage! Of course, h265 still has its place for now. But the writing is on the wall that superior alternatives are here and expanding quickly.
I hope this breakdown gave you some useful insight into the landscape of cutting-edge video codecs. Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m always happy to chat more about these transformative technologies. And go give AV1 or VVC a test spin – I think you’ll be blown away by the quality and efficiency gains. The future of video is looking very bright!
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Stephanie Ansel is a well-known writer and journalist known for her unique and captivating writing style. She has written many articles and books on important topics such as the lifestyle, environment, hobbies, and technology and has been published in some of the biggest newspapers and magazines. Stephanie is also a friendly and approachable person who loves to talk to people and learn about their stories. Her writing is easy to read and understand, filled with lots of details and information, and is perfect for both kids and adults who want to learn about important topics in an interesting way.