All You Need to Know about HEVC/H.265

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You may have heard a lot about HEVC/H.265 recently. As the popularity of 4K videos, Apple Company has applied such new industry standard in the operation system of Mac Hight Sierra and iOS 11. Compared with H.264, H.265/HEVC does have great advantages, but what are they? And can you really take advantage of such H.265/HEVC? Here below, I will talk about HEVC/H.265 comprehensively and I hope that will be helpful.

H.265 Codec

Get to Know More Information about HEVC/H.265

What is HEVC/H.265?

HEVC stands for High Efficiency Video Coding, also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2, is the latest and most advanced video compression standard jointly developed by MPEG and VCEG, which is featured as having higher coding efficiency and improved video quality. HEVC is able to compress video with double data compression ratio but just needs half bitrate to keep the same video quality and reduce storage by half when compared to H.264.

Why There Comes HEVC/H.265?

As you may know, there are more and more 4K and 8K videos coming out of the world, while such high resolution videos need a lot of space, which makes it impossible to download and stream them with best quality. In order to reduce its storing space but keep the same quality, and based on the H.264, here comes the HEVC coding technology.

HEVC can easily delivery the video content to your Apple TV, computer even iPhone or other portable devices with high quality and less space. If you like to play HEVC/H.265 videos, you can first decode the files and play through media player. However, you can also convert DVD into H.265 codec to get a half size but equal video quality. Therefore, many consumer devices and operating systems support HEVC/H.265 gradually.

Performance, Advantages and Disadvantages of H.265

H.265 is aimed to transmit higher-quality video under the limited bandwidth which reduces in half. It means that we can enjoy high-resolution video of 1080p with our smart phone and tablets online. The H.265 standard has kept pace with the high-resolution of display.

The main advantage of H.265 is that H.265 has better compression performance and lower bandwidth utilization ratio, which can further reduce design flow rate so as to cut down the cost of storage and transmission. And now many 4K high-resolution devices like 4K Blu-ray player or other streaming media players support H.265. By the way, you are also allowed to convert H.265 into other compatible formats with free H.265 converter for playback on your devices.

It is worth noting that the investment on H.265 is huge especially it came after H.264; many industrial companies will hesitate when taking H.265. On the other hand, H.265 has 3 patent pools with different pricing structures and terms & conditions. The unclarity of the royalties has stopped the adoption of H.265.

Development and Current Situation of H.265

Now, H.265 has been increasing supported by many platform and operation systems but it doesn’t gain widely support. A successful popularization of a video standard depends on several aspects, including the decision of the standard organization, the spring up of rival, application areas and royalty. Unlike H.264, H.265 needs a high cost royalty, which is charged by HEVC Advance, an independent licensing administrator.

As the development of high-resolution display, H.265 will develop accordingly, too. Despite the industrial rival VP9 and other limited factors, H.265 will find its way out and get popularized extensively.

Tell the Difference: H.265, H.265+ and x265

Have you ever encounter with H.265+ or x265 when you are dealing with your video formats/codes? Are they the same as H.265? Obviously, they are not. Here below, I would like to introduce H.265+ and x265 detailedly and show you the difference between them and H.265.

1. H.265 vs H.265 plus (H.265 +)

H.265+ is an enhanced video compression technology based on its predecessor H.265 and it can further reduce half of bitrate than H.265, which means it can lower bandwidth and storage consumption. H.265+ technology combines SmartP and AVBR technologies to improve the compression efficiency. It’s an advanced referencing technology exclusively used in Hisilicon video encoder. With H.265+, IP camera can deliver 1080P video stream under as low ad 500kbps.

2. H.265 vs x265

x265 is a library for encoding video into the HEVC/H.265 video compression format developed and standardized by the ISO/IEC MPEG and ITU-T VCEG. That is to say, h.265 is a specification while x265 is a particular H.265 encoder. It can provide next-generation compression and codec with fast and excellent quality. x265 is used by many commercial video solution providers, from live video encoder developers to OTT video streaming solution developers and video management system providers.

Play HEVC/H.265 Videos with Common Media Player Easily

In this part, I’m going to introduce some other codec similar to H.265 and make a comparison to help you getting to know H.265 in a further way.

1.H.265 vs H.264

Compared with H.264(AVC), H.265 can reduce 50% storage by encoding video at the lowest possible bitrate while maintaining high quality level and deliver better visual experience. The difference between H.265 and H.264 is their ability to expand the size of these areas into bigger or smaller blocks. H.265 CTU size can be from 4×4 to 64×64 while H.264 only allows a maximum block-size of 16×16.

2. H.265 vs VP9

VP9 is an open and royalty-free video coding format developed by Google and is the successor to VP8. It mainly competes with High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265). Both of HEVC and VP9 is aimed to decrease the bitrate and improving the compression efficiency. As a matter of fact, H.265 is better than VP9 in coding efficiency and H.265 error resilience is better than that of VP9. And in term of intra prediction modes, the amount of intra prediction modes of VP9 is 10 while in H.265 is 35. By contrast, VP9 is more challenging in MTU-matching, ultra low-delay modes, parallelization.

H.265 VS VP9

3. H.265 vs AV1

AV1(AOMedia Video1), is an open, royalty-free video coding format designed for video transmission over the Internet and is the successor to VP9. Nowadays, Netflix, Facebook and YouTube ect. are adopting AV1 to compress streaming contents. AV1 is able to provide 30% greater compression than H.265. The higher compression of AV1 will enable significant savings both in storing space and costs.


In conclusion, you may find that it is a thorough article all about HEVC/H.265 and I hope that it will be helpful to you. As we mentioned above, with 4K Blu-ray videos and streaming media gaining new ground in the market, HEVC/H.265 is an essential trend. It is beneficial to know more about it. Therefore, if you still have any other questions, please feel free to leave us comments and we will handle your problems as soon as possible.

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