The successor to H.264 is official.
The International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Video Coding Experts Group finally approved the successor to the H.264 video format, creatively called H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). As the name implies, H.265 has a massively efficient encoding process whereby the same quality as H.264 can be achieved with almost half the bitrate. What this means is that H.265 can support videos up to 8K UHD (7680 x 4320) and resolution up to 8192 x 4320 pixels.
Apart from giving us the ability to watch 8K UHD content at a reasonably low bitrate, one of the most obvious benefits is that HD content being streamed to smartphones and tablets will be a smooth process, i.e. no more buffering. You won’t have to settle for sub-HD resolutions to livestream conferences or even HD quality videos on a slower broadband connection.
Ultimately, though, the hardware that supports this codec will not come into mainstream media devices until 2014, so for now, all we can do is wait and hope for a clearer than reality future on our handheld devices.