What is Versatile Video Coding (VVC) in the H.266 Codec?

Rishabh Jain Jan 12th, 2024

Without codecs, transmitting huge video files over the internet would be exceedingly challenging. In order to maximize this technical workflow, codecs are always evolving, and new and enhanced codecs pertaining to Versatile Video Coding are in the works.

Everything you need to know about H.266 and Versatile Video Coding (VCC) will be covered in this tutorial. We’ll talk about the nature of this video codec and its applications. Next, we will discuss the advantages of using an H.266 or VVC codec for streaming and its present position in the online video streaming market. 

What Is VVC?

VVC stands for Versatile Video Coding. It is designed to advancement of resharing the streaming platform in a new way. It helps to provide 30% to 50% bitrate reduction compared to HEVC at the same perceptual quality with encoding complexity of 10x HEVC and decoding complexity of approximately 1.5x. 

The VVC specification was finalized in July 2020. It was developed by the Joint Video Expert Team (JVET) with significant contribution from the Video Communications and Applications department of Fraunhofer HHI. Compared to its predecessor H.265/HEVC, VVC achieves approximately 50% bit-rate reduction at the same subjective video quality for a wide range of video content and applications.

What is H.266

The Joint Video Experts Team (JVET) created the H.266 or VVC (Versatile Video Codec) compression standard. The team was composed of professionals from the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Professionals Group (MPEG) and the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG). 

That’s a lot of abbreviations. I apologize.

JVET will also be in charge of preserving the current H.264 and H.265 standards.  The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, based in Germany and one of the developers of the standards, officially announced the standard in July 2020.

Overview of VVC Streaming

The codec is intended to suit future videoconferencing, OTT streaming, mobile telephony and contribution requirements.

 According to the final requirements specification (version 5), the target compression performance is a 30% to 50% bitrate reduction compared to the HEVC main profile with similar perceptual quality and 10 times or more encoding complexity than HEVC. 

Early third-party performance data indicates gains of 27% to 33%. VVC will be a codec with royalties.

what is VVC?

Image source

This figure shows the evolution of modern codec standards, with VVC highlighted in red at the far right. VVC, like prior standards, is promulgated jointly by ISO/IEC through the Moving Pictures Experts Group, or MPEG, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

The Joint Video Exploration Team (JVET) worked on VVC from October 2015 to October 2017 in collaboration with ISO/IEC JTC1 SC29/WG11 (MPEG). In October 2017, a new team was formed with the “same acronym but with the Joint Video Expert Team (JVET)”.

Flexible Video Coding (VVC) is a codec designed by a joint collaborative team of ITU-T and ISO/IEC experts, known as the Joint Video Experts Team (JVET), to implement the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG),” according to the document. 

The following are the primary requirements for the new standard:

  • Deliver algorithms with 30% to 50% greater compression than the present HEVC standard at the same level of experience, with support for lossless and subjectively lossless compression 4K to 16K resolutions, as well as VR 360° video.
  • Support 4K to 16K resolutions as well as VR 360° video.
  • Support the YCbCr color space with 4:4:4, 4:2:2, and 4:2:0 quantization
  • 8 bit to 16 bit per component color depth
  • BT.2100 and 16+-step High Dynamic Range (HDR)
  • Auxiliary channels such as depth channel, alpha channel, etc.
  • Variable and fractional frame rate from 0 to 120 Hz
  • Scalable coding with temporal (frame rate change) and spatial (resolution change) scalability
  • SNR, stereo/multiview coding, panoramic formats, and still image coding.
  • An up-to-tenfold increase in encoding complexity and twofold increase in decoding complexity was expected compared to HEVC.

Benefits of VVC Streaming

Versatile Video Coding (VVC) is a codec designed to assist reduce bitrates without sacrificing video quality. As a result, VVC provides a variety of advantages for video streaming, including:

  • Efficient streaming of demanding content, such as UHD (8k+) and 360 video
  • Lower distribution expenses owing to lower bitrate
  • Maintaining great visual quality even on slower networks

Because the benefits sound highly appealing, we’ve decided to encode streams in VVC. However, until now, device makers’ playback implementations have been limited, making it difficult to see the actual benefits. As a result, we believe it is equally vital to evaluate the quality of playback on various devices and advancements in playback technology because, ultimately.

Uses of VVC

Versatile Video Coding

Versatile Video Coding (VVC) as a standard intends to improve future OTT, streaming, and video conferencing by supporting high-quality video up to 16K, which is far higher than the current best quality available and easily surpasses 4K, which is the highest quality streamed today.  

VVC also supports 360° video, which allows for immersive video streaming experiences ranging from teleconferencing to virtual performances. 

However, because VVC is a standards-based codec, it is possible that it will have compatibility issues with certain browsers, namely those produced by Alliance for Open Media members, who have their own codec, AV1. Because VVC’s predecessor HEVC only runs on only 18% of browsers, VVC’s compatibility is expected to remain limited.

Final Thought

H.266 or flexible video coding is extremely powerful and useful, but it is still expanding because to the lack of compatibility and support for this codec at the time. However, we anticipate seeing more of this in the future. Are you ready to implement video streaming in your company or organization? Enveu is an outstanding alternative for professional video hosting, both live and on-demand.

Our platform offers broadcasters various powerful capabilities, including reliable worldwide content delivery, API access, gold-standard privacy and security, video monetization, and access to a comprehensive video CMS. Furthermore, Enveu provides access to an HTML5 video player that is easy to configure and embed streaming media.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Ans: Versatile Video Coding (VVC) is the latest video compression standard developed to succeed H.265 (HEVC). It offers significant bitrate reduction while maintaining high perceptual quality, making it a more efficient codec for video streaming.

Ans: VVC enhances video streaming by providing a 30% to 50% bitrate reduction compared to H.265, allowing for efficient streaming of high-quality content, including UHD (8k+) and 360° video. This reduction benefits users with lower distribution costs and ensures great visual quality even on slower networks.

Ans: A VVC is designed to support high-quality video up to 16K resolution, HDR (High Dynamic Range), and auxiliary channels like depth and alpha channels. It aims for 30% to 50% greater compression than H.265, ensuring versatility in applications ranging from videoconferencing to OTT streaming.

Ans: VVC is not backward compatible with previous video codecs, which may pose challenges in its adoption. Compatibility issues may arise, especially with browsers that support alternative codecs, such as AV1. However, VVC’s advancements and benefits make it a promising choice for future video streaming technologies.

Ans: VVC’s capabilities make it beneficial for various industries, including video conferencing, OTT streaming, and mobile telephony. Applications such as immersive 360° video experiences and high-quality videoconferencing can particularly benefit from VVC integration.

Rishabh Jain - Director, Product Development, Enveu
Rishabh Jain is one of the co-founders and heads the Product Development at Enveu. A tech evangelist and deep tech advocate, he has been working in the Technology space, being part of many Big Data and IoT initiatives for over 10 years.

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