What is HEVC and What Does it Mean for 4K Streaming?

This post originally appeared on the BoxCast Blog here.

It wasn’t long ago that the discussion of 4K capture and delivery seemed like an elusive hypothetical. Debates abounded regarding the need for 4K versus its high cost and potentially slow rate of consumer adoption.

Five years ago, you’d have to take out a second mortgage to get your hands on a 4K camera. Today, your iPhone is a 4K camera. The change has been dramatic. 4K is no longer a topic of debate; the industry has clearly arrived.


In many ways, 4K is now feasible because of impressive developments in video compression. H.264 (also called AVC), the industry standard for video compression that allows digital video content to be recorded, compressed and distributed, has served us well for many years. But things are changing – and fast.

Advancements in video compression have given rise to H.265 (also called HEVC) and paved the way for video quality not seen before. The way HEVC works is incredibly complex, but its bottom line benefit is this: significant image quality at considerably lower bitrates. And for live streamers, this is an important development.




Regardless of your proficiency in live streamed productions, two things are clear: live streaming is here to stay and the industry is marching forward toward high bitrate, high image quality formats.

Live streaming is quickly spreading from individuals on Facebook and YouTube to social media influencers, small to mid-sized organizations, sports franchises, professional broadcasters, and corporate enterprises. As a result, the live streaming industry is going to need the infrastructure to support it.


This is precisely why BoxCast has been paying close attention to shifts in the streaming industry. One of our first efforts for getting ahead of this impending innovation explosion is the BoxCaster Pro. We gave the industry a sneak peek at our most powerful encoder this past spring at the NAB convention in Las Vegas.


Designed to deliver ultra-high quality 4K live streams with all the simplicity, reliability and technical sophistication for which BoxCast is known, the BoxCaster Pro encodes up to 4K60HDR video in HEVC, allowing users to stream events live without requiring large amounts of network bandwidth. In a nutshell, the BoxCaster Pro was specifically designed to simplify high quality 4K live streaming. And we’re very excited about it!

Though not everyone will require 4K live streaming out of the gate, it’s important to consider whether the platforms in which you invest today will support you tomorrow. At BoxCast, we’ve invested significant resources in our platform. Between building in the network readiness, encoding innovation, format support and scalability, we can ensure that when you’re ready, we’ll be there.

All you need is a camera, an internet connection and some great content. We do the rest.



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