IP Video Compression

TH.264 and H.265 are the most current popular codecs available for IP video. However, they have predecessors and will likely have successors.

What is a Codec? A codec is merely a ‘code’ for the compression and decompression of digital data for faster speeds and lower bandwidth consumption. The original codec for IP video was MJPEG, which produced excellent picture quality but hogged bandwidth and storage space. The next evolution was MPEG-4, but it still wasn’t suitable for megapixel cameras.

H.264. The next generation to appear was H.264 AVC, and it made megapixel cameras more viable for streaming and storage since it uses about 36 percent less data than MPEG-4. Eventually, engineers improved H.264 to create H.264+, which saves a whopping additional 45 percent. 

H.265. While there are still many H.264 cameras and DVRs in operation, H.265 and H.265+ are becoming more popular choices for customers who wish to stream video remotely and store more video on smaller hard drives. Introduced in 2018, H.265/HEVC provides additional, though modest, bandwidth savings over H.264+, roughly 11 percent. H.265+ goes much further with 30 percent savings over H.265. H.265 is now available in affordable stand-alone DVRs as well as IP cameras.

H.266. Launched by the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in the summer of 2020, H.266/Versatile Video Coding (VVC) promises to deliver an additional 50 percent improvement in video compression. Besides the improved performance, the VVC technology is free of the patent and licensing complications of HEVC.

AV1. An open-source codec, AV1 has become popular with video streaming services like youtube for its 4k videos but has had only minimal usage by security camera manufacturers. The video surveillance industry’s lack of adoption may have to do with the longer encoding and decoding process.

Video codecs are continually evolving as engineers attempt to deliver higher resolution images with less bandwidth and storage requirements for home and commercial video surveillance systems. Check out the LTS Security bandwidth and storage calculator for estimating your needs.