Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP using High Efficiency Video Coding (DASH+HEVC)

Yesterday I've posted my report from the 103rd MPEG meeting in Geneva announcing that with High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) the next generation video coding standard finally arrived. One of the main applications of HEVC clearly targets higher resolutions also referred to as Ultra High-Definition Television (UHDTV). Others discuss already its deployment while Japan announced to start broadcasting 4K video in 2014 (starting with knockout rounds of FIFA World Cup 2014) and 8K in 2016.

The transport of HEVC using DASH seems to be a hot topic in media, see for example here, here, here, and here. In this blog post I'd like to highlight technical changes in order to support HEVC over DASH. The immediate response would be that no updates of DASH are required to support HEVC as DASH is coding format agonistic but the devil is in the detail. In fact, the core DASH specification [ISO/IEC 23009-1:2012] doesn't require any updates but the file format and transport stream standards are currently amended. This may impact DASH as its segment formats are based on the file format and transport stream. In particular,

  • the AVC file format is currently amended to support the "carriage of HEVC" [ISO/IEC 14496-15:2010/DAM2]. The International Standard (IS) is expected for Q2-Q3 2013;
  • the MPEG-2 transport stream (M2TS) is also amended to support the "transport of HEVC video over MPEG-2 systems" [ISO/IEC 13818-1:201X/DAM 3]. Again, the International Standard (IS) is expected for Q2-Q3 2013.

Please note that the above amendments of AVC file format and MPEG-2 transport stream are available only for a limited time (due to balloting period of ISO/IEC). Also, the DASH Industry Forum might provide implementation guidelines and interoperability points for HEVC in a similar way as for AVC which is publicly available for community review.

Finally, at the 103rd meeting, MPEG started a new amendment of M2TS including "extensions to support HEVC low delay coding mode".
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