Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei back new codec for 4K and 8K video

The MPEG-5 EVC has much more advantages than the alternative HEVC

Samsung and Huawei, the world’s largest manufacturers of Android smartphones, are now joining an interesting initiative along with Qualcomm. The three companies have agreed to support and play a key role in promoting the MPEG-5 EVC (Essential Video Coding) codec. This standard will find application in devices supporting 4K and 8K resolution, but it is also optimised for virtual and augmented reality (AR).

This decision by Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei is somewhat surprising as the three companies are committing to support the EVC codec instead of the alternative HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec), which is already being used by smartphones on the market. The HEVC is superior to all other types of video codecs in the industry and offers optimal quality of content, suitable for streaming and watching videos with 4K resolution.

According to official data, the MPEG-5 EVC offers the same quality as the HEVC, but its 26% lower bitrate numbers are what set it apart. That guarantees lower data traffic when playing back identical content in 4K/8K formats.

At the same time, this advantage of the MPEG-5 EVC ensures that the files with this type of codec will take up less storage space, which is important, especially for smartphone users. The technological advantages as compared to the HEVC are not the only reason why Qualcomm, Huawei and Samsung are adopting an alternative approach and getting involved in the development of a different standard for 8K resolution and HDR video.

There are also financial aspects, as the HEVC requires that manufacturers pay a licence fee for every sale of a device using the codec. That applies to both H.265 and the upcoming H.266, which is yet to gain wide application in the industry.

In the future, companies will not have to pay to use the EVC, as they will have access to a free version of the codec. There will be optional elements that will require additional fees, but those can be deactivated on individual basis, which will give more freedom to Qualcomm, Huawei and Samsung partners using the video codec in their devices.

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