Report: HEVC Poised to Become Codec of Choice

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J.—Content distributors might play follow the leader after Apple made the announcement that in June 2017 that it would be using HEVC-encoded video to the HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) specification. In a survey conducted by Unisphere Research, and sponsored by Harmonic and Streaming Media, we could see a major deployment of the HEVC codec in the coming year.

The current landscape for HEVC among online content distributors—TV networks, content sites, commercial sites, SVODs and more—that responded revealed that 25 percent (25.1 to be exact) are currently distributing video encoded with HEVC. Those not using it are primarily using other codecs or content aware encoding and make the case that either H.264 is meeting their needs, or that they don’t understand the royalty scheme, among others.

Despite these reservations, the tide is shifting. Given a scale of one to five, with five labeled as “very strong effect,” 66.2 percent of respondents said Apple’s decision to include HEVC ranked either three, four or five.

In addition, asked at what is the soonest that they planned to deploy HEVC, 62.5 percent said that they had intentions to do so by the end of 2018. Only 27.9 percent said they had no plans at this time.

The survey did find that there is interest in other codecs by respondents, most notably AV1 and VP9. However, 53.8 percent of respondents said they do not plan on adding any new codecs.

To see the complete survey, click here.