High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC, is the newest and sleekest video coding standard for how to decode a video from the internet. Currently, H.264 is the advanced video compression standard used to help reduce the bandwidth that video uses, but HEVC (H.265) is quickly overtaking its predecessor for good reason.
But what does it mean to you?
A lot if you stream a good amount of video from the internet.
First, let me say that this move to HEVC is a very necessary one. In 2012, the streaming of internet video to television doubled, and is expected to grow at least five times that much between 2012 and 2017. All this viewer demand for internet video takes up an extraordinary amount of bandwidth that HEVC can help reduce by compressing the size of video files. This increase in efficiency means that not only will your videos consume less bandwidth, they can also be seen in higher quality than what is currently available.
In theory, any computer can decode HEVC using software that is capable of it, such as the free VideoLAN player. In the future, HEVC support will be available with the installation of Windows 10. The only hiccup: software decoding is not really efficient and hardware solutions are slowly coming through the development process. The only hardware decoder currently available is the GTX 960 video card which retail for around $200.
Once the hardware and software are up-to-date and widely available, the only stumbling block will come from the content owners who might be reluctant to share their 4K content because of the potential for stealing it, and its great potential for profit such as from their own proprietary streaming services.
Is HEVC coming soon to a television or PC near you? I can only give the unsatisfactory answer of: yes, perhaps. As the popularity of 4K streaming increases, so will HEVC.