Comparative Rate-Distortion-Complexity Analysis of VVC and HEVC Video Codecs

Alexandre Mercat, Arttu Mäkinen, Joose Sainio, Ari Lemmetti, Marko Viitanen, Jarno Vanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

315 Downloads (Pure)


Versatile Video Coding (VVC/H.266) is the next-generation international video coding standard and a successor to the widespread High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265). This paper analyzes the rate-distortion-complexity characteristics of the VVC reference software (VTM10.0) by using HEVC reference software (HM16.22) as an anchor. In this independent study, the rate-distortion performance of VTM was benchmarked against HM with the objective PSNR, SSIM, and VMAF quality metrics and the associated encoder and decoder complexities were profiled at function level using Intel VTune Profiler on Intel Xeon E5-2699 v4 22-core processors. For a fair comparison, all our experiments were conducted under the VTM common test conditions (CTC) that define 10-bit configurations of the VTM codec for the addressed All Intra (AI), Random Access (RA), and Low Delay B (LB) conditions. The VTM CTC test set was also extended with complementary 4K UHD sequences to elaborate RD characteristics with higher resolutions. According to our evaluations, VTM improves the average coding efficiency over HM, depending on quality metric, by 23.0–23.9% under the AI condition, 33.1–36.6% under the RA condition, and 26.7–29.5% under the LB condition. However, the coding gain of VTM comes with 34.0×, 8.8×, and 7.5× encoding complexity over that of HM under the AI, RA, and LB conditions, respectively. The corresponding overhead of the VTM decoder stays steady at 1.8× across all conditions. This study also pinpoints the most complex parts of the VTM codec and discusses practical implementation aspects of prospective real-time VVC encoders and decoders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67813-67828
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Common test conditions (CTC)
  • Complexity theory
  • Decoding
  • Encoding
  • HEVC test model (HM)
  • High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)
  • objective quality analysis
  • performance profiling
  • rate-distortion-complexity (RDC)
  • Standards
  • Tools
  • Transforms
  • UVG dataset
  • Versatile Video Coding (VVC)
  • video codec
  • VVC test model (VTM)

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative Rate-Distortion-Complexity Analysis of VVC and HEVC Video Codecs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this