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Press Release

ITU, ISO and IEC receive Primetime Emmy Award for excellence in video engineering

US Academy of Television honours ‘High Efficiency Video Coding’




Geneva, 25 October 2017

The US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has awarded a Primetime Emmy for outstanding achievement in engineering to the expert group responsible for 'High Efficiency Video Coding', the video compression standard that has emerged as the primary coding format for Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV.

The Primetime Emmy honours the achievements of the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding, a team of experts representing the ITU Video Coding Experts Group of ITU-T Study Group 16 and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group of ISO/IEC JTC1 Subcommittee 29.

This is the second Primetime Emmy Award to recognize the prestige of the collaborative video coding work of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

"ITU, ISO and IEC provide the technical foundations of the extraordinary innovation that we see in video," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "I am pleased to join the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in celebrating the experts at the heart of this longstanding collaboration in international standardization."

"It is a real pleasure to see the work of our experts recognized in this way," said ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica. "This group, which is at the forefront of innovation and technology in video, shows how successful we can be when we work together with a common aim."

IEC General Secretary & CEO Frans Vreeswijk added, "My sincere congratulations to the team of experts behind this standard and a big thank you to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for recognizing the importance of International Standards which are the result of fruitful collaboration between many countries and organizations."

Video accounts for about 75 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic, a figure expected to rise to over 80 per cent by 2020. The majority of this video is coded using international standards developed in collaboration by ITU, ISO and IEC.

These video compression standards continue to spur massive leaps forward in video quality. They are also central to industry's ability to meet rising demand for video, one of the most bandwidth-intensive applications running over global networks.

The new standard known as 'High Efficiency Video Coding' (HEVC) and published as ITU-T H.265 | ISO/IEC 23008-2 gains the recognition of a Primetime Emmy Award for forging the path to UHD '4K' and '8K' TV.

HEVC is a significant evolution from its predecessor ITU-T H.264 | ISO/IEC 14496-10 Advanced Video Coding (AVC). The arrival of H.264 | MPEG-4 AVC in 2003 is credited with unlocking significant advances in video spanning HDTV to 3G mobile multimedia, a contribution to TV engineering recognized with a Primetime Emmy Award in 2008.

HEVC was released in 2013 to support the next decade of innovation in video. It supports more video at higher quality on the available bandwidth. HEVC needs only half the bit rate of H.264 | MPEG-4 AVC, delivering an HD viewing experience while concurrently enabling operators to utilize network capacity more efficiently. The standard has proven especially valuable in accelerating the rollout of UHD.

HEVC enables high-dynamic-range as well as wide-colour-gamut coding and has been selected as the primary format for the delivery of full 10-bit UHD video. The standard's support for synthetic content, scalable coding, 3D and multiview enables new applications with feature-rich experiences beyond traditional camera-content broadcasting and teleconferencing.

HEVC is at play in all UHD distribution channels, from mobile broadband to satellite, cable and fibre-optic communications. The standard is supported by all UHD viewing devices, whether traditional televisions, tablets or smartphones.

HEVC has been incorporated into the standards and consortium specifications of 3GPP, ARIB, ATSC, Blu-Ray, Digital UK, DVB, EBU, ETSI and the Ultra HD Forum, in addition to those of ITU, ISO and IEC.

The video coding collaboration of ITU, ISO and IEC remains as ambitious as ever. The collaboration is working towards 2020 with the aim of delivering a new video coding standard to succeed HEVC. The next-generation standard would again provide a major improvement over the compression capability of its predecessor.