NAB 2016: HEVC Insights
NAB 2015 was a big year for HEVC/H.265, or at least that’s what it seemed like when reading the HEVC marketing taglines on booth after booth. And why not? The promise of higher quality live video streaming at the same amount of bits as H.264 was and is extremely attractive, and probably deserved all the hype.
The year in review
As the year progressed I quickly realized that the words I read on those booths were in fact just that, words. With little to no real HEVC encoding or decoding options what do you expect? I’m not saying that the industry hasn’t been moving towards HEVC. It has, and some innovative video technology companies like Haivision have been doing some great work in helping organizations get the most out of constrained pipes for live video backhaul (mostly powered by HEVC transcoders, not encoders). Which is great for the first mile, but what about end-to-end, from encoder to play-out on a decoder, set-top-box or player. It was very clear that we were still ways away from it being the new standard within the enterprise, broadcast and consumer space.
Looking to the future of HEVC
Fast forward to NAB 2016, HEVC still as hot as ever, but now with encoding products that customers can actually buy, products that will help organizations future proof and prepare themselves for the new world of video streaming.
Although the onslaught of new HEVC encoding and transcoding options is exciting, true HEVC decoding products remain scarce, which is why end-to-end HEVC video ecosystems are still years away. For NAB 2016, HEVC is still about future proofing, and in some cases, to support real world backhaul applications over constrained networks (now with HEVC encoders, and not just transcoders). Maybe NAB 2017 will be the year when the future finally becomes the present. Only time will tell, but believe me, Haivision will be one of the first.