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INSIGHTS

H.266 may not enter video surveillance for another 5 years: Omdia

H.266 may not enter video surveillance for another 5 years: Omdia
H.264 was predominant once, but the industry has gradually shifted towards H.265 now.
Video compression remains crucial part of security technology. H.264 was predominant once, but the industry has gradually shifted towards H.265 now. With technological advancements racing ahead, the question looms: will H.266 become a standard soon?
 
Not anytime soon, according to Oliver Philippou, Senior Research and Analysis Manager, Physical Security Technologies at Omdia. According to him, there may not be an adoption of H.266/VVC (Versatile Video Coding) within the commercial video surveillance industry outside a handful of niche projects within the next 5 years.
 
“The vast majority of network cameras already use H.265/HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), and there is little appetite to move to H.266,” Philippou said. “Higher licensing fees, an end to the megapixel race, high computational costs and CPU usage, and competition from new technology such as AI analytics for bitrate management reduce the necessity for increased compression via H.266.”    
 
This is in line with comments from companies, too. Two leading video surveillance companies that asmag.com spoke to confirmed that they don’t have a roadmap for H.266 yet.      

Benefits of H.266

In theory, H.266 is anticipated to provide notable storage and bandwidth efficiencies in comparison to current codecs such as H.265/HEVC and H.264/AVC.
 
Although precise forecasts may fluctuate based on factors like the capturing device, system configuration, and scene characteristics, some assessments propose that H.266/VVC could achieve bitrate reductions of up to 50% compared to H.265/HEVC while maintaining equivalent visual quality.
 
“However, the actual level of storage and bandwidth savings achieved can vary depending on several factors and is more likely to be closer to 20-30% savings,” Philippou said.
 
These factors include:
 
Content complexity: The level of compression achieved by H.266 may vary depending on the complexity of the scenes being recorded. Scenes with minimal motion or detail may benefit more from compression, resulting in higher savings in storage and bandwidth.
 
Conversely, complex scenes with rapid motion, intricate details, or high levels of noise may require higher bitrates to maintain acceptable visual quality, reducing the overall compression efficiency and savings.
 
Resolution and frame rate: The resolution and frame rate of the video content also influence the level of compression achieved by H.266. Higher resolution or frame rates may require higher bitrates to preserve detail and smooth motion, potentially reducing the compression efficiency and resulting in lower savings in storage and bandwidth.
 
Encoding settings and implementation quality: The specific encoding settings and parameters used during the compression process can impact the level of compression achieved by H.266. Optimizing encoding parameters can enhance compression efficiency and maximize storage and bandwidth savings.
 
While H.266 holds the potential for significant storage and bandwidth savings compared to current codecs, the actual level of savings will vary. As a balance between video quality and compression efficiency in various applications and scenarios affect potential savings.

Downsides of H.266

Whilst there are improved compression efficiency and video quality benefits, there may be more downsides at the moment.
 
“Omdia believes that, at present, the high license fees are one of the main issues putting the industry off using the technology,” Philippou said. “H.266 is a patented technology, and organizations incur licensing fees to use the standard. Transitioning to H.266 may involve additional licensing costs to H.265/HEVC,”  
 
As Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) and cloud-based product offerings become increasingly commonplace in the surveillance industry, live video monitoring is also on the rise. The low-latency encoding and decoding capabilities of H.266 could prove advantageous for real-time monitoring scenarios. However, its compatibility with existing systems may present integration challenges.

What does the future hold?

The development of H.266 and future codecs may influence AI-powered video analytics for security applications. Improved compression efficiency enables higher-quality video with reduced bandwidth and storage, potentially enhancing analytics.
 
H.266's efficiency may facilitate edge-based analytics deployment, reducing latency and bandwidth usage. Enabling faster processing for quicker detection and response.
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