H.266 codec halves file size without loss of quality


The newly announced H.266 codec halves the file size of video files without losing any visible quality. At least: that’s what Fraunhofer says.

Good news for fans of 4K or 8K streams (and of course the mobile filmmakers as well). The German Fraunhofer Institute has announced a new video codec. H.266 is the successor to H.265 and roughly halves the file size compared to its predecessor. And that – so Fraunhofer promises – without any visible loss of quality. In short: suppose a 4K file compressed with H.256 takes up 10 GB of storage, with H.266 it is only about 5 GB. This means a lot less storage is needed, (especially handy for mobile use), but also lower bandwidth requirements for streaming!


The new codec has been developed over the past three years in collaboration with Fraunhofer’s partners (Apple, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Sony). As in the case of H.265, licenses have to be paid for the use of H.266. So chances are that you will find the new codec in on-chip form (or software) first in the products of these partners. This autumn, the research institute will release the first software for both encoding and decoding. This does not make it very likely that H.266 can already be found in, for example, the new iPhone, which will also be released in the autumn.

It remains to be seen whether this will happen later on by means of a software update. To make codec’s like this work efficiently, extensive hardware support is often necessary, especially when it comes to real-time encoding. So just wait and see! By the way, the ‘catchy name’ Fraunhofer has chosen for the new VVC and you can read more about it on their information page.

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