Ways Video Encoder Performance Impacts Video Experience Mark Donnigan Vice President Marketing Beamr

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

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

Computer system software application is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; accordingly, software application video encoding is vital to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec implementation and video encoder for 2 however seldom three of the pillars. It does say that to provide the quality of video experience customers expect, video distributors will need to evaluate industrial services that have actually been efficiency enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those offered from AMD and Intel.

With so much turmoil in the distribution design and go-to-market business plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be tempting to push down the concern stack selection of brand-new, more effective software video encoders. With software eating the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen required to prosper and win versus an increasingly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Until public clouds and common computing turned software-based video operations mainstream, the process of video encoding was performed with purpose-built hardware.

And then, software ate the hardware ...

Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and a16z the well known equity capital firm with investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other equally disruptive business, penned a post for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 entitled "Why Software application Is Consuming The World." A version of this post can be discovered on the a16z.com site here.

"6 decades into the computer system revolution, 4 years because the development of the microprocessor, and two years into the increase of the modern-day Internet, all of the technology needed to transform markets through software finally works and can be extensively delivered at global scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prophecy, today, software-based video encoders have nearly totally subsumed video encoding hardware. With software applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to work on common computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 machines, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is completely accurate to say that "software application is consuming (or more properly, has eaten) the world."

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

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

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

It's possible to optimize a video codec implementation and video encoder for two but hardly ever three of the pillars. The majority of video encoding operations hence focus on quality and bitrate performance, leaving the compute efficiency vector open as a sort of wild card. However as you will see, this is no longer a competitive method.

The next frontier is software computing efficiency.

Bitrate efficiency with high video quality requires resource-intensive tools, which will result in slow operational speed or a considerable boost in CPU overhead. For a live encoding application where the encoder should operate at high speed to reach 60 frames-per-second (FPS), a compromise in bitrate effectiveness or absolute quality is often needed.

Codec complexity, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is outmatching bitrate effectiveness improvements and this has created the need for video encoder performance optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Generally, this is not a location that video encoding practitioners and image scientists require to be interested in, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 shows the advantages of a software encoding application, which, when all characteristics are normalized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do twice as much work on the exact same AWS EC2 C5.18 xlarge instance.

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 but not with x265. Beamr 5 set to the x264 equivalent 'ultrafast' mode can encode 4 specific 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 straight related to the quality of service as a result of fewer makers and less complicated encoding structures needed.

For those services who are mainly interested in VOD and H. 264, the right half of the Figure 1 graphic shows the efficiency benefit of a performance optimized codec implementation that is set up to produce really high quality with a high bitrate performance. Here one can see up to a 2x advantage with Beamr 4 compared to x264.

Video encoding compute resources cost genuine money.

OPEX is considered thoroughly by every video supplier. Expect entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered reliably as an outcome of an inequality between the video operations ability and the expectation of the consumer. Keeping in mind that numerous mobile devices offered today are capable of 1440p if not 4K display screen. And consumers are desiring content that matches the resolution and quality of the gadgets they carry in their pockets.

Since 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 machine. This does not indicate that live 4K encoding in software application isn't possible. But it does state that to deliver the quality of video experience consumers expect, video distributors will require to evaluate business solutions that have actually been efficiency enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

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

Video suppliers wishing to utilize software application for the versatility and virtualization choices they supply will encounter excessively complicated engineering difficulties unless they pick encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is belonging to the architecture of the software encoder.
Here is an article that shows the speed benefit of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to think of concerning computing efficiency and performance:

It's appealing to think this is just a concern for video banners with tens or hundreds of millions of subscribers, the same compromise factors to consider should be considered regardless of the size of your operations. While a 30% cost 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 should carefully and systematically consider where we are investing our compute resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A business software option will be developed by a dedicated codec engineering group that can balance the requirements of bitrate performance, quality, and calculate performance. This remains in plain contrast to open-source jobs where contributors have different and specific priorities and agendas. Precisely why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale. It was built to more info here achieve a various set of tradeoffs.
Firmly insist internal teams and experts perform calculate efficiency benchmarking on all software application encoding services under consideration. The three vectors to measure are outright speed (FPS), specific stream density when FPS is held continuous, and the total variety of channels that can be created on a single server using a nominal ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders must produce comparable video quality throughout all tests.
The next time your technical team prepares a video encoder shoot out, make certain to ask what their test strategy is for benchmarking the compute performance (efficiency) of each option. With so much turmoil in the distribution model and go-to-market company strategies for streaming entertainment video services, it might be tempting to press down the top priority stack selection of new, more effective software application video encoders. Nevertheless, surrendering this work might have a genuine influence on a service's competitiveness and ability to scale to meet future entertainment service requirements. With software application eating the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen needed to flourish and win versus a significantly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

You can try Beamr's software video encoders today and get up to 100 hours of totally free HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding monthly. CLICK HERE

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