Milestone: H.265 Not Ready For Prime Time

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Dec 14, 2016

Hype for H.265 has been growing, but Milestone is recommending restraint, despite supporting H.265.

In this note, we examine Milestone's position on H.265, and what the company says is holding back H.265 adoption, contrasting it to recent moves by Dahua and Hikvision.

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Comments (4)

My thoughts on the 3 hurdles:

Lack of ONVIF support

Agreed, the biggest hurdle is the interoperability. Reliable VMS Direct driver support will be a long time coming. ONVIF taking their time, writing more Access Control Profiles before h.265 extensions etc.

Increased demands on clients for decoding H.265 video

Reasonably priced video cards (~$100) with HEVC hardware decoding are starting to appear. When supported by the client software, this should narrow the performance gap significantly.

Lack of bandwidth savings when compared to H.264 smart CODEC

But as you allude, h.265+ is the option to compare, and it is looking pretty good. The last Wisestream 265 vs 264 1080p comparison was showing 40% reduction.

It is more likely to continue to exist as a rarely used encoding option in cameras...

Maybe not that rare.

Although, true VMS interoperability approaching h.264 levels will take a couple of years or more, there are an enourmous number of kit product sold today from Dahua/Hik and Hanwha, not to mention the Longse's of the world with h.265.

These propreitery implementations sidestep the driver issue, and should lead to widespread usage in matched camera/recorder systems in 2017.

How big is the Dahua/Hik/Samsung/Longse kit market compared to all sales, in terms of overall units? Dunno.

Yeah I agree to certain extent most of the H265 codecs or more specifically H265 software decoding, is really iffy right now. although I will say if video cards/processors get cheaper and the software decoding get ironed out in a year I could see it being a thing.

then again aside from the low end market even some of higher end are starting to push H265 like Panasonic new extreme series that are going to come out Q1 next year supposedly. Doubt Panasonic will start a H265 trend in the higher end markets though....

To be fair Panasonic does still have some high end accounts that will benefit from H.265 w/smart codecs. Even if it requires a closed ecosystem with WJ-NX400 and ASC970 or ASM200 end to end to see the benefit there are surprisingly large companies that will see the benefits, if real.

Update: added section on H.265 hardware decoding in latest XProtect client.

H.265 Hardware Decoding In XProtect

The latest version of Milestone's XProtect Smart Client supports hardware-accelerated decoding of H.265 video streams (for the versions of XProtect that support H.265), on QuickSync compatible Intel processors. According to Milestone, H.265 decoding in hardware still takes a greater toll than H.264 decoding, but it does allow for ~3-5x as many streams to be handled vs. doing decoding in software alone.

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