How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service 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 VP Marketing at Beamr, a high-performance video encoding technology company.

Computer system software application is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; accordingly, software video encoding is important to video streaming service operations. It's possible to optimize a video codec implementation and video encoder for two but hardly ever 3 of the pillars. It does state that to deliver the quality of video experience customers expect, video distributors will need to examine business options that have actually been efficiency enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

With so much turmoil in the circulation model and go-to-market company plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it may be tempting to press down the priority stack choice of new, more effective software video encoders. With software consuming the video encoding function, compute performance is now the oxygen needed to thrive and win against a significantly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Up until public clouds and ubiquitous computing turned software-based video operations mainstream, the procedure of video encoding was performed with purpose-built hardware.

And after that, software application consumed the hardware ...

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

"Six years into the computer transformation, four decades because the innovation of the microprocessor, and twenty years into the increase of the modern Internet, all of the technology required to change markets through software lastly works and can be extensively provided at international scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prediction, today, software-based video encoders have almost totally subsumed video encoding hardware. With software applications released from purpose-built hardware and able to operate on common computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 devices, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is totally accurate to state that "software is consuming (or more appropriately, has actually eaten) the world."

But what does this mean for an innovation or video operations executive?

Computer software application is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; appropriately, software application video encoding is vital to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without requiring a linear increase in physical area and energies, unlike hardware. And software can be moved the network and even whole data-centers in near real-time to meet capability overruns or short-lived surges. Software application is a lot more flexible than hardware.

When dealing with software-based video encoding, the 3 pillars that every video encoding engineer must deal with are bitrate efficiency, quality preservation, and calculating efficiency.

It's possible to optimize a video codec implementation and video encoder for two but seldom three of the pillars. Most video encoding operations therefore focus on quality and bitrate performance, leaving the compute effectiveness vector open as a sort of wild card. However as you will see, this is no longer a competitive approach.

The next frontier is software application computing performance.

Bitrate effectiveness with high video quality requires resource-intensive tools, which will lead to slow functional speed or a substantial boost in CPU overhead. For a live encoding application where the encoder must operate at high speed to reach 60 frames-per-second (FPS), a compromise in bitrate performance or outright quality is often needed.

Codec intricacy, such as that required by HEVC, AV1, and the forthcoming VVC, is outmatching bitrate efficiency developments and this has actually developed the requirement for video encoder performance optimization. Put another way, speed matters. Typically, this is not a location that video encoding professionals and image researchers require to be interested in, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 illustrates the advantages of a software application encoding application, which, when all characteristics are normalized, such as FPS and unbiased quality metrics, can do two times as much work on the exact 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 needing 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 four private streams on a single AWS EC2 C5.18 xlarge instance while x265 operating in 'ultrafast' can not reach 60 FPS at 4K. As you can see in this poignant example, codec performance is straight related to the quality of service as an outcome of fewer devices and less complex encoding frameworks required.

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

Video encoding calculate resources cost real money.

OPEX is thought about carefully by every video supplier. Suppose home entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered dependably as a result of a mismatch between the video operations ability and the expectation of the customer.

Since of efficiency constraints with how the open-source encoder x265 uses calculate 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. But it does state that to provide the quality of video experience consumers anticipate, video suppliers will require to evaluate commercial options that have been efficiency optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

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

Video distributors wishing to utilize software for the flexibility and virtualization choices they offer will come across extremely made complex engineering obstacles unless they choose encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software encoder.
Here is an article that reveals the Learn about speed benefit of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to consider concerning computing effectiveness and performance:

Do not chase the next advanced codec without thinking about first the complexity/efficiency ratio. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding team at Netflix for 10 years and just recently delegated join Facebook in a comparable capability, recently published 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 streamers with tens or hundreds of millions of customers, the very same compromise considerations must 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 cost savings. While a 30% cost savings at 1080p (H. 264), which is encoded at 3.5 Mbps, will offer more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps cost savings. The point is, we must carefully and systematically consider where we are investing our compute resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
An industrial software solution will be built by a devoted codec engineering team that can balance the requirements of bitrate performance, quality, and compute efficiency. Precisely why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale.
Insist internal groups and consultants carry out compute efficiency benchmarking on all software application encoding solutions under consideration. The three vectors to measure are absolute speed (FPS), individual stream density when FPS is held constant, and the overall variety of channels that can be produced on a single server utilizing a small ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders should produce similar video quality throughout all tests.
The next time your technical group plans a video encoder shoot out, make certain to ask what their test plan is for benchmarking the compute performance (performance) of each service. With a lot turmoil in the distribution design and go-to-market business strategies for streaming home entertainment video services, it may be appealing to press down the top priority stack selection of new, more efficient software video encoders. Surrendering this work could have a genuine impact on a service's competitiveness and capability to scale to meet future home entertainment service requirements. With software consuming the video encoding function, calculate performance is now the oxygen needed to prosper and win versus a significantly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

You can try 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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