For the past few years, various improvements on H.264 have been periodically proposed, ranging from larger transforms to better intra prediction. These finally came together in the JCT-VC meeting this past April, where over two dozen proposals were made for a next-generation video coding standard. Of course, all of these were in very rough-draft form; it will likely take years to filter it down into a usable standard. In the process, they’ll pick the most useful features (hopefully) from each proposal and combine them into something a bit more sane. But, of course, it all has to start somewhere.
A number of features were common: larger block sizes, larger transform sizes, fancier interpolation filters, improved intra prediction schemes, improved motion vector prediction, increased internal bit depth, new entropy coding schemes, and so forth. A lot of these are potentially quite promising and resolve a lot of complaints I’ve had about H.264, so I decided to try out the proposal that appeared the most interesting: the Samsung+BBC proposal (A124), which claims compression improvements of around 40%.
The proposal combines a bouillabaisse of new features, ranging from a 12-tap interpolation filter to 12thpel motion compensation and transforms as large as 64×64. Overall, I would say it’s a good proposal and I don’t doubt their results given the sheer volume of useful features they’ve dumped into it. I was a bit worried about complexity, however, as 12-tap interpolation filters don’t exactly scream “fast”.
I prepared myself for the slowness of an unoptimized encoder implementation, compiled their tool, and started a test encode with their recommended settings.