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High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the latest joint standardization effort of ITU-T WP 3/16 and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11. The resultant standard will be published as twin text by ITU-T and ISO/IEC; in the latter case, it will also be known as MPEG-H Part 2. This paper describes the block partitioning structure of the draft HEVC standard and presents the results of an analysis of coding efficiency and complexity. Of the many new technical aspects of HEVC, the block partitioning structure has been identified as representing one of the most significant changes relative to previous video coding standards. In contrast to the fixed size 16 × 16 macroblock structure of H.264/AVC, HEVC defines three different units according to their functionalities. The coding unit defines a region sharing the same prediction mode, e.g., intra and inter, and it is represented by the leaf node of a quadtree structure. The prediction unit defines a region sharing the same prediction information. The transform unit, specified by another quadtree, defines a region sharing the same transformation. This paper introduces technical details of the block partitioning structure of HEVC with an emphasis on the method of designing a consistent framework by combining the three different units together. Experimental results are provided to justify the role of each component of the block partitioning structure and a comparison with the H.264/AVC design is performed.