Despite Hype, HEVC Not Yet Ubiquitous
Sept. 7, 2014, 10:15 a.m.
H.264 is currently more mature and is performing very well across the U.S. and around the world.
Lately, while much of the talk in the trade press surrounding compression techniques required for reducing bandwidth has centered on High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), the fledgling format is not being used by content providers for any meaningful commercial deployments.
There are several reasons for this. HEVC's promised 50 percent bandwidth savings have not yet materialized, HEVC players are not easily obtained on the open market, and the format's predecessor, H.264, is the current de facto standard for encoding and decoding on software players that are now found on "smart" mobile devices.
Fluendo, founded 10 years ago, optimizes these APIs (as part of its ONEPLAY Suite) and provides specific elements to its customers to strengthen this communication between the software and hardware and make it more reliable. The overall performance depends upon the hardware used.
H.264 is more than mature and is preforming very well across the U.S. and around the world. With mobility rapidly evolving, platform manufacturers have been integrating video inside the platform to do video acceleration hardware. This has been a boon to Fluendo.
Fluendo has been working closely with The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, in Germany, where by Fraunhofer is implementing Fluendo's player technology into its latest HEVC encoder for testing and public demonstrations of its compression technology.
With the addition of our HEVC decoder, Fluendo's ONEPLAY player will be able to support 4K, the new ultra-high definition resolution currently emerging in digital video," said Benjamin Bross, H.265/MPEG-HEVC specification text main editor of Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, in a statement when the deal was made last month. "We are happy that Fluendo chose our technology to use widely in the different markets that the company operates in."
[Sky Deutschland used Fraunhofer's HHI HEVC encoder in April for one of the first live UHD end-to-end transmissions of a soccer game; using six Sony 4K cameras and several HD models that were upconverted as well.]
The two organizations have worked together in the past on MP3 player technology and Fluendo began looking into HEVC two years ago because the customers have begun asking about it. However, there's not enough content encoded in HEVC to truly test the deciding capabilities of the viewing devices. [Add to this the licensing rates from MPEG LA have not yet been finalized.] Fluendo has also implemented adaptive streaming (DASH, Smooth Streaming and HLS) technology into ONEPLAY that automatically recognizes the incoming H.264 file and decodes it for the specific device it is being viewed on.
Fluendo employs several of the central developers of GStreamer, an Open Source framework for cross-platform software. The company provides a wide range of products under and above GStreamer, including proprietary codecs (together with their respective patent licenses), a streaming server, and the Fluendo DVD Player.