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

Computer software is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; accordingly, software application video encoding is important to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec execution and video encoder for 2 however seldom three of the pillars. It does say that to deliver the quality of video experience consumers anticipate, video suppliers will need to assess commercial options 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 upheaval 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 choice of brand-new, more efficient software application video encoders. With software eating the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen needed to flourish and win against a significantly 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 carried out with purpose-built hardware.

And after that, software consumed the hardware ...

Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and a16z the famed equity capital company with financial investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other similarly disruptive business, penned a short article for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 titled "Why Software Is Consuming The World." A version of this post can be found on the website here.

"Six decades into the computer system transformation, four decades because the development of the microprocessor, and 2 years into the rise of the modern Web, all of the technology needed 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 devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to run on ubiquitous computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 makers, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is completely precise to say that "software application is eating (or more properly, has actually consumed) the world."

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

Computer software is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; appropriately, software video encoding is necessary to video streaming service operations. Software application video encoders can scale without requiring a linear boost in physical space and energies, unlike hardware. And software can be moved around the network and even entire data-centers in near real-time to fulfill capacity overruns or temporary surges. Software application is much more versatile than hardware.

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

It's possible to enhance a video codec implementation and video encoder for two however rarely 3 of the pillars. Many 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 method.

The next frontier is software application computing performance.

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

Codec complexity, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is outpacing bitrate efficiency advancements and this has actually created the need for video encoder efficiency optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Generally, this is not a location that video encoding professionals and image scientists have actually required to be interested in, however that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 highlights the advantages of a software application encoding application, which, when all qualities are stabilized, such as FPS and unbiased quality metrics, can do two times as much deal with the precise same AWS EC2 C5.18 xlarge instance.

In this example, the open-source Click Here to Learn More 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 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 an outcome of fewer devices and less complex encoding frameworks required.

For those services who are primarily worried about VOD and H. 264, the best half of the Figure 1 graphic shows the efficiency advantage of an efficiency enhanced codec implementation that is established to produce extremely high quality with a high bitrate efficiency. Here one can see up to 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. Expect entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered reliably as an outcome of a mismatch in between the video operations ability and the expectation of the consumer.

Because of efficiency limitations with how the open-source encoder x265 uses calculate cores, it is not possible to encode a live 4Kp60 video stream on a single machine. This does not suggest that live 4K encoding in software application isn't possible. It does state that to deliver the quality of video experience consumers anticipate, video distributors will require to assess commercial services that have actually been performance optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those offered from AMD and Intel.

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

Video distributors desiring to utilize software for the versatility and virtualization alternatives they supply will encounter overly complicated engineering hurdles unless they choose encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is belonging to the architecture of the software application encoder.
Here is a post that shows the speed advantage of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to consider worrying computing effectiveness and efficiency:

Do not chase after the next more innovative codec without considering initially the complexity/efficiency quotient. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding group at Netflix for ten years and just recently left to sign up with Facebook in a similar capability, recently released an excellent post on the topic of codec intricacy entitled, "Encoder Intricacy Strikes the Wall." It's appealing to believe this is only an issue for video banners with tens or hundreds of millions of customers, the exact same trade-off considerations need to 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% savings at 1080p (H. 264), which is encoded at 3.5 Mbps, will provide more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps cost savings. The point is, we should carefully and methodically consider where we are spending our compute resources to get the optimum ROI possible.
An industrial software solution will be constructed by a dedicated codec engineering team that can stabilize the requirements of bitrate efficiency, quality, and calculate efficiency. Exactly why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale.
Insist internal teams and consultants conduct calculate efficiency benchmarking on all software encoding options under consideration. The three vectors to measure are outright speed (FPS), individual stream density when FPS is held consistent, and the overall variety of channels that can be created on a single server using a small ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders must produce similar video quality throughout all tests.
The next time your technical team plans a video encoder shoot out, make certain 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 home entertainment video services, it might be appealing to push down the concern stack choice of brand-new, more effective software application video encoders. Nevertheless, forfeiting this work could have an authentic effect on a service's competitiveness and capability to scale to meet future entertainment service requirements. With software eating the video encoding function, compute performance is now the oxygen needed to prosper and win versus a progressively competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

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

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