Whether you like it or not, smartphones are only getting bigger and bigger with time. This has caused an explosion of video consumption while on the go. I’ve witnessed this first hand while using the public transportation systems in Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Being surrounded by people watching video made me want to be part of the in crowd, so I bought myself a Note II while in Kuala Lumpur. But enough about me, let’s focus on video itself.

We’ve made great advances with compression technology. You can easily squeeze a DVD quality film onto a CD-R that holds only 700 MB. Then 1080p happened. You can put a 1080p rip on a phone, but it’s going to eat up almost 5 GB. Some crazy people are going to want to stream that over a wireless network, so programmers had to come up with something new. Enter h.265, which is the sequel to the h.264 standard that pretty much every phone on the market supports.

With h.265, you get comparable quality at half the file size. That 700 MB DVD rip turns into a 350 MB file. That 5 GB 1080p rip turns into a 2.5 GB file. You get the idea. With storage becoming cheaper and cheaper, why invent a new codec? Because Ultra HD is coming. We’ve yet to see how big an Ultra HD rip is going to be, but let’s do some basic math. UHD has 4x the number of pixels as HD, so quadrupling that 5 GB file turns into 20 GB. If you could shrink that by half, you can see how it helps.

What are you going to have to do to watch h.265 video? The codec has finally been approved by the ITU, but sadly, you’re going to need a new phone. Video is something that normally has dedicated hardware for decoding and encoding. You can use a software decoder, but anyone who has done that will tell you that battery life goes to hell.

When are we going to see content appear in h.265? That’s a great question. Stay tuned!

  • AndroidBrian


  • Now we have to wait to the codec be implemented in hardware to work really well. Hope in one or two years……

  • Bone

    I think we’re a couple of years behind it becoming the general codec. 10bit h264 barely popped up at anime communities which are always ahead of things, and those videos look stunning taken from uncompressed source. 10bit h265 would mean basically lossless quality under a gig for an hour of raw fullHD source, which means better than current blu-rays.

  • aldebran

    so does this new codec require more powerful processor to play ?
    can I play h265 video smoothly on my i3 laptop ?

    • Re-read the article. It explains this.

      • aldebran

        Re-read my question: “more powerful processor”.

        The article explains “you’re going to need a new phone”, not “processor”.


        I ask nothing about phone, I asked about i3 laptop.

        Please read carefully before answer next time.

        • fer


        • fer


        • Jack

          The answer is the same for both PC and smartphone. You can use software decoder for h265, but anyone who has done that will tell you that battery life goes to hell. Unfortunately, x86 processors do not include h265 hardware decoder yet, you will have to wait for next generation.

  • Just a side note, even if UHD has 4x the number of pixels, it won’t require 4x the file size. That’s not how perceptual coders work, and most of the energy is in the lower frequencies so even a lossless coder probably wouldn’t quadruple in size.

  • Cool, for Video. But if the media has 7.1 DTS and etc, will be the same huge file.
    I Know, great stuff, but and audio? Not can be done??