• Here Comes HEIF

    Here's another bombshell from WWDC last week: iOS 11 brings with it a brand new file format for storing photos. It's called the High Efficiency Image Format and uses the unwieldy suffix you see above. It's a new standard developed by the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and is used in video compression as well.

    I found a helpful side-by-side visual comparison of HEIF and other file formats on this Nokia Github page. While I'm not seeing the claimed 50% smaller file sizes for still images, HEIF does very well against animated GIFs. So there's an obvious benefit here for Apple's proprietary Live Photos.

    But here is also where HEIF gets a bit contentious. The HEIF image format is also part of a new video codec called HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec) which will compete against another video codec called AV1. Whereas HEVC support requires licensing from no less than four patent pools, AV1 will be royalty free. Perhaps because of this AV1 already has broad support from companies including Adobe, Amazon, AMD, ARM, Broadcom, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix and Nvidia.

    How you feel about open standards versus user experience will very likely influence your opinions on HEIF. But hopefully our apps, browsers and desktop streaming boxes will be able to support both.

    Sources: JPEGmini Blog, Nokia Tech Github, XDA

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Here Comes HEIF started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Doolie's Avatar
      Doolie -
      Not really a new format. It was developed by the Motion Picture Encoding Group (MPEG). The codec wasn't finalized until 2015. HEVC isn't really new either. Both are more of an evolution of previous technologies.

      "When the MPEG LA terms were announced, commenters noted that a number of prominent players were not part of the group. Among these were AT&T, Microsoft, Nokia, and Motorola. Speculation at the time was that these companies would form their own licensing pool to compete with or add to the MPEG LA pool. Such a group was formally announced on March 26, 2015 as HEVC Advance. The terms, covering 500 essential patents, were announced on July 22, 2015, with rates that depend on the country of sale, type of device, HEVC profile, HEVC extensions, and HEVC optional features. Unlike the MPEG LA terms, HEVC Advance reintroduced license fees on content encoded with HEVC, through a revenue sharing fee."