All You Need To Know About HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec)

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Videos are everywhere, from streaming movies, TV shows, video conferencing, and social media. To keep up with the growing demand for higher-quality videos and efficient delivery, technology has advanced significantly, and a remarkable innovation is HEVC, which stands for High-Efficiency Video Coding. This article tells you everything you need to know about HEVC.

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What is HEVC?

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265, is a video compression standard that has transformed how we store, transmit, and experience video content. 

It is an improved version of AVC or H.264, and it is really great at making video files smaller without losing quality. How does it do that? Well, it uses clever algorithms and techniques to compress and decompress videos in a way that keeps the video looking fantastic! So, you get smaller video files that still look amazing on your screen.

HEVC Video Extensions

It is essential to understand that HEVC is not a filename extension but a codec that compresses video content. To store videos encoded with HEVC, they are usually placed within multimedia container formats like .mov or .mp4.

Container files are nothing but packages that hold video, audio, and subtitle streams together. They help media players and devices access and show the content correctly. These container files organize and package video, audio, and subtitle streams, allowing media players and devices to access and display the content correctly.

Container Formats for HEVC Videos

Container FormatDescription
.mov, .mp4These are popular container formats for HEVC videos. Various devices and players widely support them.
.mkvMatroska is another versatile container format commonly used for HEVC videos, supporting multiple streams.
.aviLess common but still used for HEVC videos, this format has limited support compared to .mp4 and .mkv.
.hevc, .h265Sometimes, HEVC videos with these specific extensions explicitly indicate the codec used.

How Does HEVC Work?

HEVC employs a range of techniques to achieve efficient video coding. It compresses video data using various prediction modes, transforms units, and entropy coding methods. Additionally, it utilizes intra-frame and inter-frame coding, where it analyzes both spatial and temporal redundancies to reduce file sizes further. The combination of these techniques results in impressive compression ratios and high-quality output. Let's explore each step of the HEVC encoding process: 

1. Intra Prediction

Intra prediction is a technique where each video frame is predicted based on its neighboring pixels within the same frame. It uses spatial redundancy to shrink the data you store or send.

2. Inter Prediction

Inter prediction, also known as motion compensation, leverages temporal redundancy by predicting frames based on motion information from reference frames. This technique efficiently represents the changes between consecutive frames.

3. Transform Coding

Transform coding converts the spatial domain information into the frequency domain through mathematical transformations like Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT). This process reduces the spatial correlation within the video and prepares it for further compression.

4. Quantization

Quantization scales down the transformed coefficients to discard unnecessary data. This lossy process introduces some distortion but significantly reduces the data size.

5. Entropy Coding

Entropy coding further compresses the data by assigning shorter codes to more frequently occurring symbols. This step takes advantage of the statistical properties of the video data.

6. Deblocking Filter

The deblocking filter is applied to reduce block artifacts that may appear due to aggressive compression. It results in an enhancement of the video's visual quality.

how hevc works
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Advantages of HEVC Video

Advantages of HEVC Video Description
🔥 High-Quality Video Streaming in Low-Bandwidth Conditions With the help of HEVC video, you can get rid of slow stream, perfect for online streaming and high-res content, even with limited internet speeds.
💾 Reduced Storage Space Requirement You can save precious storage space without sacrificing video quality. It is great for creators, distributors, and users looking to optimize their media files.
🌐 Wide Device and Software Support Seamless integration across various platforms - your favorite devices and apps likely already support HEVC for an effortless video experience.
🎥 Crystal Clear 4K and Beyond Play 4K videos and higher resolutions with superior compression, making every frame pop with clarity and brilliance.
📱 Mobile-Friendly and Battery Efficient HEVC's efficiency benefits mobile users with faster video downloads and longer battery life, enhancing the enjoyment of videos on the go.
📈 Future-Proof and Industry Standard Embrace cutting-edge technology as HEVC continues to be the industry standard, ensuring your videos remain compatible and accessible for years.

Applications of HEVC in Various Industries

HEVC is widely used in various domains, including:

  1. Video Streaming and Online Content Delivery: One of the primary applications of HEVC is streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Hotstar, JioCinema, and Amazon Prime Video. Using HEVC, these platforms can deliver high-quality content to users with reduced buffering and faster loading times, enhancing the viewing experience.
  1. Broadcasting and Digital Television: HEVC has revolutionized broadcasting by enabling the transmission of high-quality content over limited bandwidths. It has paved the way for Ultra-High-Definition Television (UHDTV) broadcasts, allowing viewers to enjoy crystal-clear images and vibrant colors.
  1. Video Conferencing and Communication: HEVC plays a crucial role in video conferencing applications in the era of remote work and virtual meetings. It ensures smooth video calls with high-resolution images, enabling effective communication between remote teams and individuals.
  1. Video Surveillance and Security: HEVC's efficient compression is invaluable in the field of video surveillance. It enables the storage of large amounts of high-resolution CCTV footage without occupying excessive disk space.
  1. Gaming: HEVC becomes crucial in gaming, used for streaming game content, cutscenes, and trailers with efficient compression for minimal lag and high-quality visuals.
  1. Mobile Devices and On-The-Go Video: Mobile devices often have limited processing power and battery life. HEVC's compression efficiency allows mobile users to stream videos, video chat, and access online content without draining their batteries quickly.
  1. Cloud Computing and Storage: HEVC's reduced file sizes are advantageous in cloud storage and computing environments. It enables cost-effective storage of large media libraries and facilitates fast data transfer over networks.
  1. UHD Content: With the increasing popularity of 4K and 8K content, HEVC has become the favored codec for delivering Ultra High Definition videos to screens that support these resolutions. It ensures impressive visuals without using excessive bandwidth.

HEVC Codec Support on Different Platforms

PlatformCodec SupportContainer Support
Microsoft WindowsRequires Add-onMP4 (.mp4, .m4v)
macOSYesMP4 (.mp4, .m4v)
AndroidYesMP4 (.mp4, .m4v) and .mkv
iOSYesMP4 (.mp4, .m4v) and .mov

The Future of HEVC Video

As technology continues to evolve, so will the applications of HEVC video. The widespread adoption of 5G networks and the growing demand for high-quality content will further drive the implementation of HEVC in various industries. HEVC plays a crucial role due to its versatility, efficiency, and capability to find a harmonious blend between video quality and file size. These attributes position it as an essential component in the digital media landscape in the future of digital media.

If you are confused between the AVC and HEVC Codec. Then, you should refer to this article to help you learn more about them and make an appropriate choice.


HEVC video is a revolutionary advancement in video compression technology. Its superior efficiency, reduced file sizes, and enhanced streaming capabilities make it a game-changer for various sectors, from streaming services to video production. Embracing HEVC allows companies and content creators to deliver high-quality content while optimizing bandwidth and storage resources.

About the Author: Molly Owen

Molly is the Lead Technical Specialist with distinguished knowledge and understanding of Mac computers and operating systems. Being a veteran photographer and video recovery specialist, Molly’s expertise in video formats and file repair has helped restore a lot of videos and cherished memories of users. As a technical specialist, she also believes in learning and…