How Video Encoder Compute Efficiency Can Improve Streaming UX Mark Donnigan VP Marketing Beamr

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

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Mark Donnigan is VP 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 important to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec implementation and video encoder for two but rarely three of the pillars. It does state that to deliver the quality of video experience customers expect, video suppliers will require to examine business solutions that have been performance optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those readily available from AMD and Intel.

With so much turmoil in the circulation design and go-to-market company plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be appealing to press down the top priority stack selection of brand-new, more efficient software application video encoders. With software application eating the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen needed to grow and win versus a progressively competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Till 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 application ate the hardware ...

Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and a16z the famed venture capital firm with investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other similarly disruptive business, 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 decades into the computer transformation, 4 years since the creation of the microprocessor, and twenty years into the increase of the contemporary Internet, all of the technology required to change markets through software application finally works and can be widely 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 application applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to work on ubiquitous computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 makers, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is totally accurate to state that "software is eating (or more appropriately, has consumed) the world."

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

Computer system software application is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; accordingly, software video encoding is vital to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without needing a linear boost in physical area and utilities, unlike hardware. And software application can be walked around the network and even entire data-centers in near real-time to satisfy capability overruns or momentary rises. Software application is far more versatile than hardware.

When handling software-based video encoding, the 3 pillars that every video encoding engineer must resolve are bitrate effectiveness, quality conservation, and computing efficiency.

It's possible to enhance a video codec application and video encoder for two however rarely 3 of the pillars. Most video encoding operations therefore concentrate on quality and bitrate performance, leaving the calculate efficiency vector open as a sort of wild card. However as you will see, this is no longer a competitive technique.

The next frontier is software application computing efficiency.

Bitrate efficiency with high video quality requires resource-intensive tools, which will lead to slow operational speed or a considerable increase 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 performance or outright quality is often required.

Codec complexity, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is outpacing bitrate efficiency developments and this has created the requirement for video encoder performance optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Traditionally, this is not a location that video encoding professionals and image researchers require to be concerned with, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 illustrates the advantages of a software encoding application, which, when all attributes are normalized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do twice 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 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 circumstances while x265 operating in 'ultrafast' can not reach 60 FPS at 4K. As you can see in this poignant example, codec performance is directly related to the quality of service as an outcome of fewer devices and less complex encoding structures needed.

For those services who are mainly worried about VOD and H. 264, the right half of the Figure 1 graphic shows the efficiency benefit of an efficiency enhanced codec implementation that is established to produce really high quality with a high bitrate effectiveness. Here one can see up to a 2x benefit with Beamr 4 compared to x264.

Video encoding calculate resources cost genuine money.

OPEX is thought about thoroughly by every video distributor. Suppose entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered reliably as a result of a mismatch in between the video operations capability and the expectation of the consumer.

Because of performance restrictions 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 does not mean that live 4K encoding in software isn't possible. It does state that to deliver the quality of video experience customers anticipate, video distributors will require to evaluate commercial services 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 to be optimized for higher core counts was just recently highlighted by AMD CTO Mark Papermaster in an interview with Tom's Hardware.

Video distributors wishing to use software application for the versatility and virtualization alternatives they offer will experience extremely made complex engineering hurdles unless they choose encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software application encoder.
Here is a post that reveals the speed benefit of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to consider concerning computing performance and efficiency:

Do not go after the next more advanced codec without considering first the complexity/efficiency quotient. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding team at Netflix for ten years and recently left to join Facebook in a similar capacity, recently published an exceptional article on the topic of codec intricacy titled, "Encoder Complexity Hits the Wall." It's tempting to think this is only an issue for video banners with tens or hundreds of millions of customers, the exact same compromise considerations need to be thought about 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 give more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps cost savings. The point is, we should carefully and systematically think about where we are spending our calculate resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
An industrial software application solution will be developed by a devoted codec engineering team that can stabilize the requirements of bitrate performance, quality, and compute performance. This remains in stark contrast to open-source projects where contributors have separate and private top priorities and agendas. Exactly why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale. It was constructed to achieve a different set of tradeoffs.
Firmly insist internal groups and consultants conduct compute performance benchmarking on all software encoding services under consideration. The three vectors to measure are absolute speed (FPS), individual stream density when FPS is held constant, and the total variety of channels that can be developed on a single server utilizing a small ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders should produce equivalent video quality throughout all tests.
The next time your technical team plans a video encoder shoot out, ensure to ask what their test strategy is for benchmarking the compute performance (performance) of each solution. With so much upheaval in the distribution model and go-to-market business plans for streaming entertainment video services, it may be tempting to lower the top priority stack selection of brand-new, more effective software application video encoders. However, forfeiting this work might have a genuine effect on a service's competitiveness and ability to scale to fulfill future home entertainment service requirements. With software application consuming the video encoding function, compute efficiency is now the oxygen required to grow and win versus a significantly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

You can attempt out Beamr's software application video encoders How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality today and get up to 100 hours of totally free HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding every month. CLICK HERE

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