HEVC Royalty Stacking and Uncertainty Threaten VVC Adoption
he Versatile Video Coding standard (VVC), finalized in 2020, is now entering a fragmented, multi-codec market. However, VVC’s adoption is uncertain in the face of competitive video solutions that are subject to lower or no royalties. VVC owes thanks for this to the excessive royalties and licensing uncertainties that continue to plague VVC’s predecessor, HEVC. Over the past five years, the formation of multiple pools for HEVC has led to licensing inefficiencies and royalty stacking that have hampered HEVC’s adoption. This has prompted the video industry to develop competitive, lower cost solutions, such as the Alliance for Open Media’s Advance Video 1 codec (AV1) and MPEG’s Essential Video Codec (EVC) and Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding (LCEVC) standards. These video solutions, together with the already existing AVC and HEVC standards, provide a lot of choices to device manufacturers, streaming platforms, and content owners. VVC’s chances of success are further weakened by the dramatic decreases in broadband download, shown below, and video storage costs, which negate any gains in compression efficiency generated by VVC for most uses.