Ways Video Encoder Performance Improves 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 system software is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; appropriately, software video encoding is necessary to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec application and video encoder for 2 but seldom 3 of the pillars. It does state that to provide the quality of video experience consumers expect, video suppliers will require to evaluate industrial options that have actually 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 business strategies for streaming home entertainment video services, it may be appealing to push down the concern stack choice of new, more efficient software video encoders. With software eating the video encoding function, calculate performance is now the oxygen required to thrive and win against a progressively competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Till public clouds and common 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 well known venture capital firm with investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other similarly disruptive companies, penned a post for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 titled "Why Software Is Eating The World." A variation of this post can be discovered on the a16z.com site here.

"6 decades into the computer system revolution, 4 decades given that the invention of the microprocessor, and twenty years into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the innovation needed to change industries through software application finally works and can be extensively delivered at international scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prediction, today, software-based video encoders have nearly completely subsumed video encoding hardware. With software application applications freed from 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 totally precise to state that "software is eating (or more appropriately, has eaten) the world."

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 application video encoding is vital to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without requiring a direct increase in physical area and utilities, unlike hardware. And software can be walked around the network and even whole data-centers in near real-time to fulfill capability overruns or short-lived rises. Software is far more flexible than hardware.

When handling software-based video encoding, the three pillars that every video encoding engineer must deal with are bitrate efficiency, quality conservation, and computing performance.

It's possible to enhance a video codec application and video encoder for two however rarely 3 of the pillars. A lot of video encoding operations thus concentrate on quality and bitrate efficiency, leaving the compute performance 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 needs resource-intensive tools, which will result in slow functional speed or a substantial 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 performance or outright quality is frequently needed.

Codec intricacy, such as that required by HEVC, AV1, and the forthcoming VVC, is outmatching bitrate efficiency developments and this has actually produced the requirement for video encoder performance optimization. Put another way, speed matters. Generally, this is not a location that video encoding practitioners and image researchers have actually required to be worried about, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 illustrates the benefits of a software application encoding application, which, when all characteristics are normalized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do two times as much deal with the specific very 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 however not with x265. Beamr 5 set to the x264 equivalent 'ultrafast' mode can encode four specific 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 less machines and less complicated encoding structures needed.

For those services who are primarily worried about VOD and H. 264, the ideal half of the Figure 1 graphic programs the efficiency advantage of a performance enhanced codec implementation that is set up to produce very 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 real cash.

OPEX is considered thoroughly by every video supplier. However expect home entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be provided dependably as an outcome of a mismatch between the video operations capability and the expectation of the customer. Bearing in mind that many mobile phones sold today are capable of 1440p if not 4K display screen. And customers are desiring content that matches the resolution and quality of the devices they carry in their pockets.

Because of performance limitations with how the open-source encoder x265 utilizes calculate cores, it is not possible to encode a live 4Kp60 video stream on a single machine. This does not imply that live 4K encoding in software isn't possible. However it does say that to deliver the quality of video experience consumers anticipate, video suppliers will need to examine business options that have been efficiency enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those offered from AMD and Intel.

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

Video suppliers wishing to use software application for the flexibility and virtualization choices they supply will come across overly made complex engineering hurdles unless they select encoding engines 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 believe about worrying computing effectiveness and performance:

Don't chase the next advanced codec without thinking about initially the complexity/efficiency ratio. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding team at Netflix for 10 years and just recently delegated sign up with Facebook in a comparable capacity, just recently released an excellent short article on the subject of codec intricacy entitled, "Encoder Intricacy Strikes the Wall." It's appealing to think this is just a concern for video banners with 10s or hundreds of millions of customers, the very same compromise factors to consider need to be considered 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% 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 should carefully and methodically think about where we are investing our compute resources to get the optimum Get More Info ROI possible.
An industrial software option will be constructed by a devoted codec engineering team that can balance the requirements of bitrate efficiency, quality, and calculate performance. This remains in stark contrast to open-source tasks where factors have separate and private priorities and programs. Precisely why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale. It was built to accomplish a different set of tradeoffs.
Insist internal teams and consultants carry out compute efficiency benchmarking on all software encoding solutions under factor to consider. The 3 vectors to determine are outright speed (FPS), private stream density when FPS is held continuous, and the overall 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 comparable video quality throughout all tests.
The next time your technical team plans a video encoder shoot out, make sure to ask what their test strategy is for benchmarking the calculate efficiency (performance) of each option. With a lot upheaval in the distribution model and go-to-market business prepare for streaming home entertainment video services, it may be tempting to push down the top priority stack selection of new, more effective software video encoders. However, surrendering this work could have a genuine effect on a service's competitiveness and capability to scale to satisfy future home entertainment service requirements. With software application eating the video encoding function, calculate performance is now the oxygen needed to grow and win versus an increasingly competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

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

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