How Video Encoder Performance Impacts Streaming Quality 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 VP Marketing at Beamr, a high-performance video encoding technology company.

Computer system software application is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; accordingly, software video encoding is important to video streaming service operations. It's possible to optimize a video codec application and video encoder for two but seldom 3 of the pillars. It does say that to deliver the quality of video experience consumers expect, video distributors will require to examine industrial solutions that have actually been performance enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

With so much upheaval in the circulation design and go-to-market company plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be tempting to push down the priority stack choice of brand-new, more effective software application video encoders. With software application consuming the video encoding function, calculate performance is now the oxygen required to flourish and win versus a significantly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Up 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 investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other equally disruptive companies, penned an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 titled "Why Software application Is Consuming The World." A variation of this post can be found on the website here.

"Six decades into the computer revolution, 4 decades considering that the development of the microprocessor, and twenty years into the rise of the contemporary Internet, all of the innovation needed to change industries through software lastly works and can be commonly provided at international scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prediction, today, software-based video encoders have almost entirely subsumed video encoding hardware. With software application applications released from purpose-built hardware and able to operate on ubiquitous computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 devices, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is completely precise to say that "software application is consuming (or more appropriately, has actually eaten) the world."

But 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 enterprise; accordingly, software application video encoding is vital to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without requiring a linear boost in physical area and energies, unlike hardware.

When handling software-based video encoding, the 3 pillars that every video encoding engineer should attend to are bitrate performance, quality conservation, and calculating efficiency.

It's possible to enhance a video codec application and video encoder for two but rarely three of the pillars. Many video encoding operations thus focus on quality and bitrate efficiency, leaving the calculate efficiency vector open as a sort of wild card. But as you will see, this is no longer a competitive approach.

The next frontier is software application computing efficiency.

Bitrate effectiveness with high video quality requires resource-intensive tools, which will lead to slow functional speed or a significant boost 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 effectiveness or absolute quality is frequently needed.

Codec complexity, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is outpacing bitrate performance improvements and this has actually developed the requirement for video encoder performance optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Traditionally, this is not a location that video encoding practitioners and image scientists have required to be worried with, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 shows the benefits of a software encoding execution, which, when all characteristics are normalized, such as FPS and unbiased quality metrics, can do twice as much work on the exact 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 needing to encode live 4Kp60, one can see that it is possible with Beamr 5 but 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 directly associated to the quality of service as an outcome of less devices and less complicated encoding frameworks required.

For those services who are mostly interested in VOD and H. 264, the right half of the Figure 1 graphic programs the performance advantage of a performance enhanced codec execution that is established to produce really 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 genuine cash.

OPEX is considered carefully by every video supplier. Suppose home entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered reliably as a result of a mismatch in between the video operations ability and the expectation of the customer.

Because of efficiency restrictions with how the open-source encoder x265 utilizes calculate cores, it is not possible to encode a live 4Kp60 video stream on a single device. This doesn't 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 evaluate industrial services that have actually been efficiency enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those readily available from AMD and Intel.

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

Video distributors wishing to utilize software application for the flexibility and virtualization alternatives they provide will encounter excessively complicated engineering obstacles unless they choose encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software application encoder.
Here is an article that shows the speed benefit of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to think of concerning computing effectiveness and performance:

Don't go after the next advanced codec without considering initially the complexity/efficiency quotient. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding group at Netflix for 10 years and just recently left to sign up with Facebook in a comparable capability, recently published an exceptional short article on the topic of codec intricacy titled, "Encoder Intricacy Hits the Wall." Though it's appealing to think this is just a problem for video banners with tens or numerous countless customers, the same trade-off considerations should be considered despite 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 give more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps cost savings. The point is, we should thoroughly and methodically think about where we are investing our calculate resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A business software solution will be constructed by a devoted codec engineering group that can balance the requirements of bitrate performance, quality, and calculate efficiency. This is in plain contrast to open-source projects where factors have separate and private top priorities and agendas. Precisely why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale. It was developed to achieve a various set of tradeoffs.
Firmly insist internal groups and specialists conduct compute 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 number of channels that can be produced on a single server using a nominal 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 group prepares a video encoder shoot out, make sure to ask what more info their test plan is for benchmarking the compute efficiency (efficiency) of each option. With a lot turmoil in the circulation design and go-to-market business prepare for streaming entertainment video services, it might be appealing to lower the concern stack selection of brand-new, more effective software video encoders. Surrendering this work could have a real impact on a service's competitiveness and capability to scale to satisfy future entertainment service requirements. With software application eating the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen required to flourish and win against an increasingly competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

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

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