I was reading the Hulu tech blog to find out how they created their VR watching experience, which presents an HD surround environment of a 360 "living room" while also streaming video at 60fps on a virtual TV within the environment.
It runs flawless on my Playstation VR. It turns out that they (Hulu) are using one of the successors to the current video format we call H264 or mp4, which became the dominant streaming format because iPhones didn't do Flash video.
The emerging format is currently called HEVC or H265. The file extension you will start seeing on some files is .mkv
The tech is amazing. It's doubling and quadrupling compression rates without quality loss for 4K and 8K video. So Netflix and AppleTv and others will be able to stream 4K at 1080P efficiency or better.
The problem? Licensing fees.
There are a LOT of underlying technologies and patents to HEVC and all of those people want a piece of the action.
Meanwhile, there is a new fighter in the race for the future...
Google, Amazon, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix formed the Open Media Alliance to create an agnostic open source video codec.... and are currently working on the VP10 successor which is now called AO1, they are also using an open source audio codec Opus.
For a lot of technology ingredient companies who get paid via royalties it's going to be a huge problem. The middle man will disappear. A lot of people who get paid now when videos get encoded or played will not be paid in the future.
Apple announced native HEVC and H265 hardware support at WWDC which means on new Macs, Quicktime and Safari will soon be able to play and encode these more efficient files natively.
I'm not smart enough to figure out where the money is in this, but the near future looks good for streaming media companies who were thought to be "breaking the internet" just 2 years ago.