TELE-audiovision - The World’s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine - page 128

TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine
— 07-08/2013
Ultra High Definition
Designed for
Ultra High Definition TV
Jacek Pawlowski
rate reduction for HEVC com-
pared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
was 49.3%. So very, very
close to the initial target.
But what about UHD? Has
anybody tested the HEVC
performance for higher reso-
lutions than today’s HDTV?
Yes, they have. One of the
most rigorous tests was car-
ried out by the researchers
from the Ecole Polytech-
nique Federale de Lausanne
in Lausanne, Switzerland.
They used a large ultra high
resolution LCD monitor (56”
Sony Trimaster SRM-L560)
and prepared 3 different bit
streams with different con-
tent: Road Traffic, People On
the Street and Sintel2 (com-
puter animation). Eeach vid-
eo stream was compressed
with: MPEG-4 codec and
HVEC codec. The test result
was: HVEC significantly out-
performs MPEG-4. Moreover,
it is possible to achieve a
50-75% reduction in bit rate
if HVEC is used instead of
New standard will inevi-
tably entail a lot of turmoil
Picture 1: David Hathaway, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Table 1: Comparing Standard Definition, High Definition and Ultra High Definition Characteristics
Every 9-11 years we ob-
serve a step forward in digi-
tal video technology. Com-
pare the dates of the main
standard publications:
- 1992: VCD, CDi
- 1994: MPEG-2 (H.262)
and DVD-Video
- 2004: MPEG-4 (H.264),
streaming, mobile video
- 2013: HEVC (H.265) - the
expected new standard for
ultra high definition video
The interesting thing is
that this corresponds more
or less to the 11 years long
solar cycle. Every 11 years,
the number of sunspots
reach a maximum - see pic-
ture 1.
Is it possible that the smart
guys working on digital video
standardization are influ-
enced by this natural phe-
nomenon? Perhaps a high
number of sunspots turns
them up so much that they
simply have to reduce the
tension and publish a new
standard? We will come back
to that at the end of this ar-
The new standard is self-
explained by its name – HEVC
means High Efficiency Video
Coding. HVEC is claimed to
be about 50% more efficient
than MPEG-4/H.264. Let’s
compare what bit rates are
needed for today’s SD chan-
nel, HD channel and a future
Ultra HD channel depending
on video compression meth-
od: MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and
HEVC. We put the figures in
table 1.
Please note that by a UHD
channel we mean a video
resolution of 3,840 x 2,160
pixels in a progressive mode
(2160p). So, it is even a big-
ger improvement than HD
had over SD (760p/1080i vs.
As everybody can see, the
improvement in data com-
pression is tremendous. In
fact, when work on HEVC
started this was the main
objective: to achieve about
50% improvement in coding
efficiency without sacrificing
video quality perceived by
humans. And here we come
to a very vital question: does
HEVC really guarantee a vid-
eo quality comparable with
today’s HD?
The first tests have been
already carried out. Most of
them dealt with HD material
and indeed proved that HVEC
did pretty well in comparison
to MPEG-4. The final conclu-
sion was that the average bit
MPEG-2 (H.262)
MPEG-4 (H.264)
HVEC (H.265)
SD (480i/576i)
2.5-3.5 Mbps
1.5-2.5 Mbps
0.8-1.5 Mbps
HD (1080i)
12-18 Mbps
6-9 Mbps
3-4.5 Mbps
UHD (2160p)
12-18 Mbps
6-9 Mbps
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