How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality Mark Donnigan VP Marketing Beamr

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


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

Computer system software is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; appropriately, software video encoding is important to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec application and video encoder for two but rarely three of the pillars. It does state that to provide the quality of video experience customers anticipate, video distributors will need to examine commercial options that have been efficiency optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those readily available from AMD and Intel.

With so much turmoil in the distribution design and go-to-market company plans for streaming entertainment video services, it may be tempting to push down the concern stack choice of new, more effective software video encoders. With software application consuming the video encoding function, compute performance is now the oxygen required to prosper and win against a significantly 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 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 venture capital company with financial 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 discovered on the site here.

"Six decades into the computer transformation, 4 years because the invention of the microprocessor, and 20 years into the rise of the contemporary Web, all of the technology needed to transform markets through software application finally works and can be widely provided at worldwide scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prophecy, today, software-based video encoders have actually nearly completely subsumed video encoding hardware. With software applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to run on common computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 devices, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is totally accurate to state that "software is eating (or more properly, has eaten) the world."

What does this mean for a technology 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 necessary to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without needing a direct boost in physical space and energies, unlike hardware. And software can be walked around the network and even entire data-centers in near real-time to fulfill capacity overruns or temporary rises. Software is far more flexible than hardware.

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

It's possible to optimize a video codec application and video encoder for two but hardly ever 3 of the pillars. A lot of video encoding operations therefore focus on quality and bitrate performance, leaving the compute effectiveness vector open as a sort of wild card. As you will see, this is no longer a competitive technique.

The next frontier is software application computing performance.

Bitrate effectiveness with high video quality requires resource-intensive tools, which will cause slow operational speed or a significant 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 performance or outright quality is often needed.

Codec intricacy, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the forthcoming VVC, is outmatching bitrate effectiveness advancements and this has actually produced the need for video encoder efficiency optimization. Put another way, speed matters. Traditionally, this is not a location that video encoding specialists and image researchers have required to be interested in, however that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 illustrates the benefits of a software encoding application, which, when all qualities are normalized, such as FPS and unbiased quality metrics, can do twice as much deal with 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 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 comparable 'ultrafast' mode can encode four 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 associated to the quality of service as an outcome of fewer devices and less complicated encoding frameworks needed.

For those services who are primarily interested in VOD and H. 264, the best half of the Figure 1 graphic programs the efficiency benefit of a performance optimized codec application 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 cash.

OPEX is thought about carefully by every video distributor. Suppose entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be provided reliably as an outcome of an inequality in between the video operations ability and the expectation of the consumer. Remembering that numerous mobile devices sold today are capable of 1440p if not 4K display. And consumers are wanting More Info material that matches the resolution and quality of the gadgets they bring in their pockets.

Because of efficiency constraints with how the open-source encoder x265 makes use of 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 say that to deliver the quality of video experience customers expect, video distributors will need to examine industrial solutions that have actually been efficiency enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those readily available from AMD and Intel.

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

Video distributors desiring to use software application for the versatility and virtualization choices they offer will come across excessively made complex engineering obstacles unless they pick encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software application encoder.
Here is a short article that reveals the speed advantage of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to believe about worrying computing effectiveness and efficiency:

Don't chase after the next more advanced codec without thinking about initially the complexity/efficiency quotient. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding team at Netflix for 10 years and recently left to sign up with Facebook in a similar capability, recently published an excellent short article on the subject of codec intricacy entitled, "Encoder Complexity Hits the Wall." It's appealing to believe this is only a problem for video streamers with tens or hundreds of millions of subscribers, the very same compromise factors to consider should be considered 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% cost savings at 1080p (H. 264), which is encoded at 3.5 Mbps, will provide more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps savings. The point is, we must thoroughly and systematically think about where we are investing our compute resources to get the optimum ROI possible.
A business software option will be built by a devoted codec engineering team that can balance the requirements of bitrate efficiency, quality, and compute efficiency. Exactly why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale.
Insist internal groups and specialists conduct compute efficiency benchmarking on all software encoding services under factor to consider. The three vectors to determine are outright speed (FPS), private stream density when FPS is held constant, and the total 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 need to produce comparable video quality throughout all tests.
With so much upheaval in the circulation design and go-to-market company strategies for streaming entertainment video services, it might be tempting to push down the concern stack selection of brand-new, more effective software application video encoders. With software application eating the video encoding function, compute efficiency is now the oxygen required to flourish and win against a progressively competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

You can experiment with Beamr's software video encoders today and get up to 100 hours of totally free HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding every month. CLICK ON THIS LINK

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