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This paper describes a low complexity video codec with high coding efficiency. It was proposed to the high efficiency video coding (HEVC) standardization effort of moving picture experts group and video coding experts group, and has been partially adopted into the initial HEVC test model under consideration design. The proposal utilizes a quadtree-based coding structure with support for macroblocks of size 64 × 64, 32 × 32, and 16 × 16 pixels. Entropy coding is performed using a low complexity variable length coding scheme with improved context adaptation compared to the context adaptive variable length coding design in H.264/AVC. The proposal's interpolation and deblocking filter designs improve coding efficiency, yet have low complexity. Finally, intra-picture coding methods have been improved to provide better subjective quality than H.264/AVC. The subjective quality of the proposed codec has been evaluated extensively within the HEVC project, with results indicating that similar visual quality to H.264/AVC High Profile anchors is achieved, measured by mean opinion score, using significantly fewer bits. Coding efficiency improvements are achieved with lower complexity than the H.264/AVC Baseline Profile, particularly suiting the proposal for high resolution, high quality applications in resource-constrained environments.