The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced today that its members had agreed upon the format for the successor to H.264 video — a development that the body believes will set the stage for a new generation of high-definition video. Casually dubbed High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), the format's official name is Recommendation ITU-T H.265, and it brings with it one very specific benefit: the ability to reproduce quality imagery at half the bitrate required with H.264.

The H.264 video standard has become a de facto standard in recent years, turning up in everything from Blu-ray players to web video. The ITU said that it envisions H.265 being able to support video needs for the next decade, and with 4K streaming video already on the horizon and consumers wanting more video despite the limitations of their ISPs there will no doubt be a need for more efficient codecs in the very near future. While it will undoubtedly take quite some time for the new format to reach the kind of ubiquity its predecessor currently enjoys, the ITU says companies like Mitsubishi have already demonstrated implementations of the new format.