DVB tuner specification adds support for VCC codec

Mike Wheatley

The DVB Steering Board has made good on its promise to introduce a new specification based on the Versatile Video Coding (H.266) codec that’s seen as the successor to HEVC.


The HEVC (H.265) codec was introduced to replace the older MPEG4 (H.264) specification, but it is slowly reaching the end of its life. It will be succeeded by VCC, which has now formally been approved for inclusion in future DVB tuners.

The Digital Video Broadcasting tuner standard is used throughout Europe, most of Africa, large parts of Asia, Australia and in many other parts of the world for broadcast signals.

"The DVB Project has added Versatile Video Coding (VVC) to its core specification for the use of video and audio coding in broadcast and broadband applications,” the Steering Board announced in a statement. “DVB is thus the first standards body of its kind to add a next generation video codec to its media delivery toolbox.”

The implementation of VCC means that future 4K and 8K TVs, set-top boxes and other devices sold in Europe and other regions where DVB is used must add support for VVC decoding. Once they do, that will hopefully lead to broadcasters transmitting more 4K HDR and 8K channels using the more efficient codec.

DVB says this is more than possible, as the VCC codec is 50% more efficient compared to HEVC.

“According to results from MPEG, it is capable of encoding video with on average 50% bitrate savings for the same subjective quality compared to HEVC, its predecessor in the same family,” the board said in its statement. “This makes VVC one of the most efficient video coding technologies currently available.”

In its announcement, the Steering Board said it is also planning to implement support for other next-generation video codecs in the near future, with the current focus being on the AVS3 codec and the AV1 codec that’s supported by Google, Netflix and others the next in line for evaluation.

The DVB’s latest specification also includes other conformance points that TV hardware will be required to meet, including a baseline receiver that’s capable of supporting up to 4K resolution with HDR. The other conformance points relate to support for 8K and high frame rates.

The DVB’s update brings it into line with the ATSC tuner standard used in North America, which itself was recently upgraded to support 4K resolution, HDR and other next-generation features. Brands such as Samsung, LG Electronics and Sony introduced their first ATSC 3.0 tuners in 2020.