How Video Encoder Performance Impacts Streaming Quality Mark Donnigan Vice President Marketing Beamr

Read the original LinkedIn article here: How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality


Mark Donnigan is Vice President of Marketing at Beamr, a high-performance video encoding technology company.

Computer system software is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; accordingly, software application video encoding is necessary to video streaming service operations. It's possible to optimize a video codec application and video encoder for 2 but rarely 3 of the pillars. It does say that to deliver the quality of video experience customers anticipate, video distributors will need to evaluate industrial options that have been performance optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

With so much upheaval in the distribution design and go-to-market business strategies for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be tempting to push down the concern stack choice of brand-new, more effective software application video encoders. With software eating the video encoding function, compute performance is now the oxygen needed to prosper and win versus a progressively competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Until public clouds and ubiquitous computing turned software-based video operations mainstream, the procedure of video encoding was carried out with purpose-built hardware.

And then, software consumed the hardware ...

Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and a16z the famed equity capital firm with financial investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other equally disruptive companies, penned an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 entitled "Why Software Is Eating The World." A variation of this post can be found on the website here.

"Six years into the computer transformation, 4 years since the innovation of the microprocessor, and 2 decades into the rise of the modern Web, all of the technology needed to transform industries through software lastly works and can be extensively delivered at international scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prediction, today, software-based video encoders have practically entirely subsumed video encoding hardware. With software applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to run on ubiquitous computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 devices, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is totally accurate to say that "software is consuming (or more appropriately, has consumed) the world."

What does this mean for an innovation or video operations executive?

Computer system software is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; appropriately, software application video encoding is necessary to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without needing a linear increase in physical area and utilities, unlike hardware. And software application can be moved the network and even entire data-centers in near real-time to fulfill capacity overruns or temporary rises. Software is far more flexible than hardware.

When dealing with software-based video encoding, the 3 pillars that every video encoding engineer needs to attend to are bitrate performance, quality preservation, and calculating performance.

It's possible to optimize a video codec execution and video encoder for 2 however rarely 3 of the pillars. Many video encoding operations hence focus on quality and bitrate efficiency, leaving the compute effectiveness vector open as a sort of wild card. As you will see, this is no longer a competitive technique.

The next frontier is software computing performance.

Bitrate performance with high video quality needs resource-intensive tools, which will result in slow functional speed or a significant increase in CPU overhead. For a live encoding application where the encoder should run at high speed to reach 60 frames-per-second (FPS), a compromise in bitrate efficiency or absolute quality is frequently needed.

Codec intricacy, such as that required by HEVC, AV1, and the forthcoming VVC, is outpacing bitrate effectiveness improvements and this has actually developed the need for video encoder performance optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Traditionally, this is not an area that video encoding practitioners and image scientists have required to be interested in, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 highlights the advantages of a software encoding implementation, which, when all characteristics are stabilized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do two times as much deal with the specific very same AWS EC2 C5.18 xlarge circumstances.

In this example, the open-source encoders x264 and x265 are compared to Beamr's AVC and HEVC encoders, Beamr 4, and Beamr 5.

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For services requiring to encode live 4Kp60, one can see that it is possible with Beamr 5 however not with x265. Beamr 5 set to the x264 equivalent 'ultrafast' mode can encode 4 individual streams on a single AWS EC2 C5.18 xlarge circumstances while x265 operating in 'ultrafast' can not reach 60 FPS at 4K. As you can see in this poignant example, codec efficiency is directly associated to the quality of service as an outcome of fewer makers and less complicated encoding structures needed.

For those services who are mostly interested in VOD and H. 264, the best half of the Figure 1 graphic programs the performance advantage of a performance enhanced codec execution that is established to produce extremely high quality with a high bitrate effectiveness. Here one can see as much as a 2x advantage with Beamr 4 compared to x264.

Video encoding calculate resources cost genuine money.

OPEX is considered carefully by every video supplier. Suppose entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be provided reliably as an outcome of a mismatch in between the video operations ability and the expectation of the consumer.

Due to the fact that of performance constraints with how the open-source encoder x265 uses compute cores, it is not possible to encode a live 4Kp60 video stream on a single maker. This doesn't suggest that live 4K encoding in software isn't possible. However it does say that to provide the quality of video experience consumers expect, video suppliers will need to assess commercial services that have been performance enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

The requirement for software application to be optimized for higher core counts was just recently highlighted by AMD CTO Mark Papermaster in an interview with Tom's Hardware.

Video suppliers wanting to use software application for the versatility and virtualization options they offer will experience extremely complicated engineering hurdles unless they choose encoding engines click here where multi-processor scaling is belonging to the architecture of the software application encoder.
Here is an article that shows the speed advantage of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to consider worrying computing performance and efficiency:

Do not chase the next advanced codec without considering first the complexity/efficiency ratio. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding group at Netflix for 10 years and just recently delegated sign up with Facebook in a comparable capability, just recently released an excellent article on the subject of codec complexity titled, "Encoder Complexity Hits the Wall." It's appealing to believe this is just a problem for video banners with tens or hundreds of millions of subscribers, the same trade-off factors to consider need to be thought about regardless of the size of your operations. A 30% bitrate cost savings for a 1 Mbps 480p H. 264 profile will return a 300 Kbps bandwidth savings. While a 30% savings at 1080p (H. 264), which is encoded at 3.5 Mbps, will give more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps cost savings. The point is, we need to carefully and methodically think about where we are investing our compute resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A commercial software application service will be constructed by a dedicated codec engineering group that can stabilize the requirements of bitrate performance, quality, and compute efficiency. This is in stark contrast to open-source jobs where contributors have different and private top priorities and agendas. Exactly why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale. It was developed to accomplish a various set of tradeoffs.
Firmly insist internal teams and specialists carry out calculate performance benchmarking on all software application encoding services under consideration. The three vectors to determine are absolute speed (FPS), specific stream density when FPS is held constant, and the total variety of channels that can be created on a single server utilizing a nominal ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders should produce similar video quality throughout all tests.
With so much turmoil in the circulation design and go-to-market organisation strategies for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be appealing to press down the concern stack selection of new, more efficient software video encoders. With software consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen required to prosper and win against a progressively competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

You can check out Beamr's software application video encoders today and get up to 100 hours of complimentary HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding on a monthly basis. CLICK ON THIS LINK

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