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Screen Content Coding Offers Improved Quality and Efficiency for HEVC

The new extension to HEVC, Screen Content Coding, is tailor-made for encoding screen captures from video games and tutorials, which feature animation, text, and graphics in addition to camera-generated video

By Dr. Yan Ye

Compared to the earlier versions of HEVC, SCC is mainly designed for the new variety of screen-captured content beyond the conventional camera-captured content. It is designed for content that typically features text and graphics and other rendered animation, either on top of the natural content or in place of the natural content. In this type of content, the video characteristics are somewhat different from a natural camera captured content, in that they typically contain higher frequency and higher contrast information.

Another particularity of screen-captured content is that it oftentimes uses a different video format than that of natural camera captured content. For example, the RGB color space is more likely to be used for screen captured content; this is in contrast to natural camera captured content, which primarily uses the YCbCr color space. Earlier versions of HEVC can work with the RGB color space, and can deliver good results in that video format for text and graphics, but there are additional things you can do to further improve the coding efficiency of such content. That’s the main goal of SCC: to further improve coding efficiency for screen captured content.

Those improvements come in two main areas. First, the compression efficiency is always going to be extremely important. If you look at the amount of video that’s being captured, it grows exponentially, in terms of not only amount but also quality. Areas such as spatial resolution, temporal resolution (which most people call “frame rate”), and other areas continue to improve. People keep asking for higher quality, and quality means data—so compression efficiency is extremely important.


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