How Video Encoder Performance Impacts Streaming Quality Mark Donnigan VP 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 innovation company.

Computer 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 enhance a video codec implementation and video encoder for 2 but rarely 3 of the pillars. It does say that to provide the quality of video experience consumers anticipate, video distributors will require to evaluate business services that have actually been efficiency optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those readily available from AMD and Intel.

With so much turmoil in the distribution design and go-to-market organisation plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it may be tempting to press down the priority stack selection of new, more effective software video encoders. With software eating the video encoding function, calculate performance is now the oxygen required to grow and win against 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 process of video encoding was carried out with purpose-built hardware.

And after that, software ate the hardware ...

Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and a16z the famous endeavor capital company 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 application Is Consuming The World." A version of this post can be found on the website here.

"Six decades into the computer revolution, 4 years given that the invention of the microprocessor, and twenty years into the increase of the contemporary Internet, all of the technology required to change industries through software lastly works and can be extensively delivered at worldwide scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prophecy, today, software-based video encoders have nearly totally subsumed video encoding hardware. With software application applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to run on common computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 makers, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is totally accurate to state that "software application is eating (or more properly, has actually consumed) the world."

What does this mean for a technology or video operations executive?

Computer software application is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; appropriately, software video encoding is vital to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without needing a direct increase in physical area and utilities, unlike hardware.

When handling software-based video encoding, the three pillars that every video encoding engineer should address are bitrate effectiveness, quality preservation, and computing efficiency.

It's possible to optimize a video codec application and video encoder for 2 but seldom 3 of the pillars. Many video encoding operations hence focus on quality and bitrate performance, leaving the calculate performance 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 effectiveness with high video quality needs resource-intensive tools, which will lead to slow operational speed or a considerable boost in CPU overhead. For a live encoding application where the encoder need to operate at high speed to reach 60 frames-per-second (FPS), a compromise in bitrate effectiveness or outright quality is typically needed.

Codec complexity, such as that required by HEVC, AV1, and the forthcoming VVC, is exceeding bitrate performance improvements and this has created the need for video encoder performance optimization. Put another way, speed matters. Typically, this is not an area that video encoding specialists and image researchers require to be worried about, however that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 highlights the benefits of a software encoding execution, which, when all attributes are normalized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do twice as much deal with the precise 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 comparable 'ultrafast' mode can encode 4 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 efficiency is straight associated to the quality of service as an outcome of less devices and less complicated encoding frameworks needed.

For those services who are primarily worried about VOD and H. 264, the ideal half of the more information Figure 1 graphic programs the efficiency benefit of a performance enhanced codec execution that is established to produce extremely high quality with a high bitrate performance. Here one can see as much as a 2x benefit with Beamr 4 compared to x264.

Video encoding compute resources cost genuine cash.

OPEX is thought about carefully by every video distributor. However expect entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered reliably as a result of a mismatch between the video operations ability and the expectation of the customer. Keeping in mind that lots of mobile phones offered today are capable of 1440p if not 4K display. And customers are wanting material that matches the resolution and quality of the devices they bring in their pockets.

Because of efficiency limitations with how the open-source encoder x265 makes use of 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 customers expect, video suppliers will require to assess business solutions that have actually been efficiency optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those offered from AMD and Intel.

The need 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 desiring to utilize software application for the versatility and virtualization alternatives they provide will experience excessively complicated engineering obstacles unless they choose encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software encoder.
Here is a short article that shows the speed benefit of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to consider concerning computing performance and performance:

Do not go after the next advanced codec without thinking about first the complexity/efficiency quotient. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding team at Netflix for 10 years and recently left to sign up with Facebook in a comparable capability, recently released an excellent article on the topic of codec intricacy titled, "Encoder Complexity Strikes the Wall." Though it's appealing to believe this is only an issue for video streamers with tens or numerous millions of customers, the very same compromise considerations should be considered regardless of the size of your operations. A 30% bitrate savings for a 1 Mbps 480p H. 264 profile will return a 300 Kbps bandwidth cost savings. While a 30% savings at 1080p (H. 264), which is encoded at 3.5 Mbps, will offer more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps savings. The point is, we need to carefully and methodically think about where we are investing our calculate resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A business software application solution will be built by a devoted codec engineering team that can balance the requirements of bitrate efficiency, quality, and compute efficiency. Precisely why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale.
Firmly insist internal teams and specialists carry out compute performance benchmarking on all software encoding solutions under factor to consider. The 3 vectors to measure are outright speed (FPS), private stream density when FPS is held continuous, and the total number of channels that can be produced on a single server using a small ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders must produce comparable video quality throughout all tests.
With so much upheaval in the distribution model and go-to-market service strategies for streaming entertainment video services, it may be tempting to push down the concern stack choice of new, more effective software video encoders. With software application consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen required to thrive and win against a significantly competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

You can experiment with Beamr's software application video encoders today and get up to 100 hours of totally free HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding each month. CLICK ON THIS LINK

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