How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service 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 Vice President of Marketing at Beamr, a high-performance video encoding technology company.

Computer system software is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; accordingly, software application video encoding is essential to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec execution and video encoder for 2 but hardly ever three of the pillars. It does say that to deliver the quality of video experience customers anticipate, video suppliers will need to evaluate business solutions that have actually been efficiency enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

With so much upheaval in the distribution design and go-to-market company plans for streaming entertainment video services, it might be tempting to press down the top priority stack selection of brand-new, more effective software application video encoders. With software eating the video encoding function, compute performance is now the oxygen needed to prosper and win versus an increasingly 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 renowned endeavor 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 application Is Eating The World." A version of this post can be found on the site here.

"Six decades into the computer revolution, four years since the development of the microprocessor, and 20 years into the increase of the modern-day Internet, all of the technology needed to change industries through software application finally works and can be commonly delivered at global scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prediction, today, software-based video encoders have actually almost entirely subsumed video encoding hardware. With software applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to operate on ubiquitous computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 machines, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is completely accurate to say that "software is eating (or more appropriately, has actually consumed) the world."

However 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 vital to video streaming service operations. Software video encoders can scale without needing a direct boost in physical space and utilities, unlike hardware. And software application can be moved the network and even whole data-centers in near real-time to fulfill capability overruns or momentary surges. Software application is much more flexible than hardware.

When handling software-based video encoding, the three pillars that every video encoding engineer needs to address are bitrate efficiency, quality conservation, and calculating efficiency.

It's possible to enhance a video codec implementation and video encoder for 2 but rarely 3 of the pillars. The majority of video encoding operations therefore focus on quality and bitrate efficiency, leaving the compute effectiveness vector open as a sort of wild card. But 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 need to run at high speed to reach 60 frames-per-second (FPS), a compromise in bitrate efficiency or outright quality is typically needed.

Codec complexity, such as that required by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is exceeding bitrate efficiency improvements and this has developed the need for video encoder efficiency optimization. Put another way, speed matters. Traditionally, this is not an area that video encoding practitioners and image scientists require to be interested in, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 highlights the advantages of a software encoding application, which, when all characteristics are normalized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do twice as much work on the exact same AWS EC2 C5.18 xlarge instance.

In this example, the open-source encoders more information 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 equivalent 'ultrafast' mode can encode 4 individual 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 directly associated to the quality of service as an outcome of fewer devices and less complex encoding frameworks needed.

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

Video encoding compute resources cost real cash.

OPEX is thought about thoroughly by every video supplier. Expect home entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be provided reliably as an outcome of an inequality between the video operations capability and the expectation of the consumer.

Due to the fact that of performance 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 machine. This does not indicate that live 4K encoding in software isn't possible. However it does say that to provide the quality of video experience customers anticipate, video suppliers will require to evaluate business services that have actually been performance 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 enhanced for higher core counts was just recently highlighted by AMD CTO Mark Papermaster in an interview with Tom's Hardware.

Video suppliers wishing to utilize software application for the versatility and virtualization options they provide will encounter excessively complicated engineering difficulties unless they choose encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software encoder.
Here is a post that reveals the speed benefit of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to think about worrying computing efficiency and efficiency:

It's tempting to think this is just a problem for video banners with 10s or hundreds of millions of subscribers, the very same compromise considerations must be thought about regardless of the size of your operations. 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 savings. The point is, we must thoroughly and methodically think about where we are investing our compute resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A commercial software application solution will be developed by a dedicated codec engineering team that can stabilize the requirements of bitrate effectiveness, quality, and calculate performance. Precisely why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale.
Insist internal groups and consultants conduct compute efficiency benchmarking on all software application encoding services under factor to consider. The 3 vectors to determine are absolute 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 nominal ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders must produce comparable video quality throughout all tests.
The next time your technical team prepares a video encoder shoot out, make sure to ask what their test plan is for benchmarking the compute effectiveness (efficiency) of each option. With a lot turmoil in the distribution model and go-to-market organisation prepare for streaming entertainment video services, it may be tempting to press down the top priority stack selection of new, more efficient software application video encoders. Forfeiting this work could have a genuine impact on a service's competitiveness and ability to scale to fulfill future entertainment service requirements. With software application consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen needed to flourish and win against an increasingly competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

You can experiment with Beamr's software application video encoders today and get up to 100 hours of totally free HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding each month. CLICK HERE

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