Hikvision Bets Against H.265

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Jun 07, 2016

H.265 is a "solution in search of a problem", according to Hikvision.

In this report we analyze Hikvision's commentary explaining the tradeoffs between H.265, H.264 and smart codecs, looking at what the best codec will be in the future.

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Comments (24)

I wish people would understand that a bigger number does not necessarily means better... H.265, 30Mpx... people see bigger numbers and always assume it is better...

Patent Issues

H.265 is cited as having "a much higher patent cost", though no specifics are given. While these patent costs are not directly seen by the end-user, they are seen in the form of increased product cost.

ha since when have the chinese cared about patent laws. they copy, what ever is sent over there and manufacture it under a new name and when legal problems arise the dissolve and start another new one under a different name.

I will say h265 will have to have some serious horsepower to decode for VMS's or live viewing for that reason alone it wont take very well

ha since when have the chinese cared about patent laws

Pace: Hikvision and ObjectVideo sign noteworthy patent license agreement.

TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) will force the Chinese to play by the rules, if not they will be excluded from the new order.

When they have a legit USA presence with assets that can be targeted. Hik USA isn't playing the short game.

Too often our industry jumps the gun on new technology and launches it into the market prematurely. I prefer refinements in existing technology to create a great product, than creating new products that might not work much better. We are using Hikvisions H.264+ with Hikvision recorders and DW Spectrum and have seen great results. This is a smart move IMO.

H.265 is a "solution in search of a problem", according to Hikvision.

That statement is either pure hyperbole or pure idiocy, take your pick.

Because regardless of how much better h.264+ is than h.265, they are both trying to solve the same fundamental problem, namely more efficient compression.

Moreover, they're not exclusionary technologies. Even the uber-cautious Axis sees smart codecs and h.265 as complimentary technologies, as indicated here:

The Senior Manager of While loops may also be a bit partial to his own algorithms...

That statement is either pure hyperbole or pure idiocy, take your pick.

Or it could be a poor choice of words. But it does concisely summarize the overall negativity expressed about H.265.

I agree strictly speaking that H.265 was a solution that aimed to solve a problem. The real thing that Hikvision is getting out is that a better solution came later that has overtaken it before H.265 was even widely adopted in our industry.

John

Has IPVM done any testing on the CPU side? I'm very interested in seeing how much more CPU H.265 takes to decode compared to H.264 in the same resolution and frame rate.

BTW I read an article stating that the encoding complexity is from 5x to 10x the complexity of H.264 encoding...

Wondering how much more complex is decoding...

Right, this is useful information to have regarding H.265. If it cuts the bandwidth in half for $.20 in manufacturer costs per camera that's great and all, but if it requires the manufacturer to pump $150 more into the NVR chipset to decode it, that is not particularly a good trade. For those of us that have moved onto VMS from NVRs that can be a pricey proposition... though I am sure Intel would love it.

Though the fact that there are numerous hikua 8 channel h.265 NVRS at the $300 price point is encouraging.

Yes, we tested it with Vivotek and Samsung cameras in our H.265 IP Cameras Test.

It's a small difference when bitrates are low, but higher bitrate streams had significant impact on load. Here's the whole CPU load section from that report:

For low bitrate streams (~4 Mb/s and under), H.265 decoding was slightly more processor intensive than H.264, both on low and high end PCs. This was true when viewing both a single stream as well as multiple simultaneous streams. These measurements were taken viewing streams in VLC, though client softwares showed similar trends:

However, when bitrates spiked at night in either of the H.265 cameras, CPU usage jumped significantly, with H.265 more than doubling H.264 processor usage in a high end PC with dedicated video card. Users should beware of these difference in performance, as client machines which work fine for H.264 may no longer view H.265 properly.

Specs of PCs used:

  • Low End PC: AMD Quad Core 3.7 GHz, 8 GB RAM, Integrated Radeon Graphics
  • High End PC: Intel Dual Quad Core i7 2.4 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 2GB GeForce GT 650M Graphics

I think it's important to note that many CPUs (pretty much all Intel and ARM CPU's) have dedicated hardware for decoding H264, which makes it very efficient to decode. Additionally the software decoders for H264 are very mature.

H265 is probably going to see significant usage in other markets (delivering movies etc), so there will be rapid improvement and development of H265 decoders both in software and hardware.

The end result is these benchmarks may be irrelevant in 6months-1years time, so don't write off H265 based on these benchmarks too quickly.

I think it's important to note that many CPUs (pretty much all Intel and ARM CPU's) have dedicated hardware for decoding H264, which makes it very efficient to decode.

Also, many video cards can offload decoding to the GPU. Some VMSes (Milestone, Genetec) are capable of using this.

Whatever the results are initially for h.265 decode cycles, they will certainly improve once hardware decoding catches up. That is assuming h.265 becomes as widespread as h.264 in the much larger non-surveillance markets.

But it does concisely summarize the overall negativity expressed about H.265.

By Hikvision yes, others like Da/Hanwha are extremely bullish.

IPVM Agrees with HIKVISION......... John, I need a shot right now!

Marty, be nice :)

As our test results show, we are fairly consistently positive about their products / technology. The business issues are a different issue...

Gotta give credit to Hik on calling their own bad bet. Looking at the Chinese site one might not realize the contempt they have for h.265, as a third or more of the network cameras listed are h.265 and get top billing:

Keep in mind H265 first usage won't be for CCTV solutions.... Mass market industry needsmore efficient compressors to bring larger streams to our large 4K TV sets in our homes... No Smart Codec in TV because, to display Avatar from J Cameron it's realy very very bandwidth consuming in IPTV - no still pixels. 4K , 30MP...and more cameras located in very complex and moving areas will also need something better . So now H265 isn't mature, too new.. ok, like the High H264 profile in a camera, which improves H264 quality but put the mess in term of CPU in your server

But be sure it's what we will find soon in our set-top box iand that day, the CCTV cameras will obsviously take advantage of this codec when the costs end efficiency is more realistic. When our Telecom & Internet providers will disptach larger streams to larger TV sets is one of the key points of upcoming years , this will decide if the technology is mature and cost effective or not (so might be in 2018 instead of 2016 or 2017..)

Usually now, Mass market industry adopts new technologies firts, and security follows (remember H264, EIS, WDR, face detect, or Cmos) Right now Security is back ahead with H265 which isn't realistic. A too small market can't decide by it self ...so wait & see...

Back to H265 it is also working with smart codec ... if you spare naturally 30%.... when combined with Smartcodec and Dgop (so H265+) you can reach 30% savings vs H264+

So when you could record 3 weeks, you can now record 4 weeks...and keep H265 only for records and H264 streams for display to save CPU. How much does it cost you to choose right now a H265+/H264+ camera instead of a H264+ camera to prepare the future and eventually migrate later to a full H265 solution is the question ..

The other question is also , with current H265 NVRs, do we save 30% of the storage and for which additionnal costs in the NVR? John; this could be tested once

So what's wrong with combining smartcodecs with H265.....? [Rhetorical]

<edit: missed the [Rhetorical] flourish. Consider the following superfluous.>

Nothing. Vivotek, for instance, does it currently. Anyone that supports both apart will eventually support both together, I'd imagine.

Some more information here in H.265 Uses HALF The Storage Space?

Indeed, in Hikvision's own report, they acknowledge the same:

"as it exists right now, for industrial and surveillance applications, H.265’s compression capabilities may not reach the 100% improvement as claimed over H.264 in an actual application scenario."

Then again, it might get more than 100% savings, like in this actual test of a Hikvision h.265 surveillance camera. Which, by the way, this camera continues to do in a real, if somewhat unchallenging courtyard scene, largely devoid of moving fans.

Which makes you wonder why a company like Hik, who would easily make a statement like "May improve bitrate by 100%", if it could be be justified at all, would transform it into the logically compatible but far bleaker "May NOT improve bitrate by 100%".

Because they're just that dang gone honest?

"would transform it into the logically compatible but far bleaker "May NOT improve bitrate by 100%"."

Hikvision Exec: "Wait! What? We will have to pay 20 cents a camera to use H265?! Why did you not run this by finance before advertising H265 capable cameras?! 20 cents is half a days wages for a worker. Reverse course. Tell people it doesn't work!"

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