As we have reported previously, the new HEVC compression standard is about much more than enabling Ultra High Definition TV. The market that could benefit most, short and long-term, is OTT and multi-screen TV but the ability to halve bit rates or ramp up picture quality in the same bandwidth has implications for HDTV, too. The IPTV operator Swisscom has already said it will use HEVC in 2014 to increase picture quality and extend the reach of HDTV to near-100% of its network.
Speaking on a Videonet webcast about HEVC, Boris Felts, VP Products at Envivio, pointed out recently: â€œThere are quite a few IPTV subscribers who are not eligible for HD services and with HEVC, telcos will be able to offer HD in limited bandwidth locations. HEVC will also increase the number of people who are eligible for any kind of IPTV service. Right now if you drop under 1Mbps in bandwidth availability there is no service the telco can offer you. The telcos are looking at different ways to solve this: one approach is offering OTT without guaranteed QoS and the other way is to use HEVC so video can penetrate further into the network.â€
In more mature deployments, and especially in the U.S., the problem facing IPTV providers is how to deliver multiple services into the home. Multi-room TV (including with HD and DVR functionality) is a competitive battleground in that market and traditionally telcos have been disadvantaged by the relatively fixed bandwidth of the final pipe into the home. Felts points out that one way to resolve this is Fibre to the Home but the use of HEVC could delay the day when they need to make that network investment.
HDTV and the likely evolution of the UltraHD market using HEVC were discussed in a recent Videonet webcast, which you can listen to on-demand here.
Pic: Home page photo shows Motorola VIP1963T HDTV IP and/or DTT set-top box. HEVC could increase IP HD set-top box deployments thanks to extended service reach.