HLS and H.264 Top Dogs in 2018 Encoding.com Global Format Report

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Encoding.com chose the first day of NAB to release its 2018 Global Media Format Report, a yearly breakdown of the transcoding jobs the company handled in 2017 for over 3,000 media and entertainment customers. 

The strong kept getting stronger in 2017. While the previous year's report showed H.264 with 79 percent of the video codec space, that rose to 81 percent for this year's report. "H.264 is defacto," the report says. It's grown every year since Encoding.com was founded, and is the most popular codec for the HLS and DASH adaptive bitrate standards. While fMP4 might be the future, its challenging requirements mean publishers aren't likely to switch over anytime soon. HEVC use rose this year from 3 percent to 9 percent, while VP9 tumbled from 11 percent to 6 percent.

"HEVC is on the rise due to its validation from Apple now that the whole Apple ecosystem supports it," says Gregg Heil, Encoding.com's CEO. "While we mainly saw usage in testing, we expect to see a substantive increase next year."

For adaptive standards, HLS continues to dominate with 74 percent of the market (up from 72 percent last year), but DASH has also grown and now owns 22 percent (up from 21 percent). The report calls HLS "the gold standard," noting that the maturity of its specifications, continued improvement, and vast device support make it the center for any adaptive bitrate policy. 

Looking at screen resolution support, Encoding.com notes—and not for the first time—that 4K has more buzz than use. Only 8 percent of the company's total output is in 4K, which is actually down 2 percent from last year. 1080p output held at 55 percent.

View the full report for free (no registration required) for additional findings on cloud storage providers, digital rights management (DRM) support, and closed caption formats. 

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