Ways Video Encoder Compute Efficiency Can Improve 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


Mark Donnigan is Vice President of 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 vital to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec application and video encoder for 2 however seldom 3 of the pillars. It does say that to provide the quality of video experience customers anticipate, video suppliers will need to assess commercial services that have actually been efficiency optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

With so much upheaval in the distribution model and go-to-market business plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it may be appealing to push down the priority stack choice of new, more effective software video encoders. With software application consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen needed 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

Up until 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 ate the hardware ...

Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and a16z the famous venture capital company with investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other similarly disruptive business, penned a post for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 entitled "Why Software Is Consuming The World." A variation of this post can be discovered on the a16z.com website here.

"Six years into the computer system revolution, 4 decades because the creation of the microprocessor, and twenty years into the increase of the modern-day Web, all of the technology needed to transform industries through software application finally works and can be widely delivered at worldwide scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prophecy, today, software-based video encoders have nearly totally subsumed video encoding hardware. With software application applications released from purpose-built hardware and able to run on ubiquitous computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 machines, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is completely accurate to state that "software application is consuming (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 requiring a direct increase in physical space and energies, unlike hardware. And software can be walked around the network and even whole data-centers in near real-time to meet capability overruns or temporary rises. Software is far more flexible than hardware.

When handling software-based video encoding, the 3 pillars that every video encoding engineer should resolve are bitrate effectiveness, quality conservation, and computing efficiency.

It's possible to optimize a video codec application and video encoder for 2 but hardly ever 3 of the pillars. The majority of video encoding operations therefore concentrate on quality and bitrate performance, leaving the calculate 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 computing performance.

Bitrate effectiveness with high video quality needs resource-intensive tools, which will lead to slow operational 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 absolute quality is often required.

Codec intricacy, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the forthcoming VVC, is outmatching bitrate efficiency advancements and this has actually developed the need for video encoder efficiency optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Generally, this is not a location that video encoding practitioners and image scientists require to be concerned with, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 illustrates the advantages of a software encoding application, which, when all characteristics are stabilized, such as FPS and unbiased quality metrics, can do twice as much work on the precise 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 More Information that it is possible with Beamr 5 but not with x265. Beamr 5 set to the x264 comparable 'ultrafast' mode can encode four 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 straight related to the quality of service as a result of fewer machines and less complicated encoding structures required.

For those services who are mostly worried about VOD and H. 264, the best half of the Figure 1 graphic programs the performance advantage of a performance optimized codec application that is established to produce really 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 calculate resources cost real money.

OPEX is considered carefully by every video distributor. But expect entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be provided dependably as a result of a mismatch between the video operations ability and the expectation of the consumer. Keeping in mind that many mobile phones sold today can 1440p if not 4K display screen. And consumers are wanting material that matches the resolution and quality of the devices they bring in their pockets.

Due to the fact that of performance limitations with how the open-source encoder x265 utilizes compute 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 isn't possible. However it does state that to deliver the quality of video experience consumers expect, video distributors will need to evaluate industrial services that have been performance optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available 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 wanting to utilize software application for the flexibility and virtualization choices they offer will come across overly complicated engineering obstacles unless they pick encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is belonging to the architecture of the software encoder.
Here is an article that shows the speed advantage of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to believe about worrying computing performance and efficiency:

It's tempting to believe this is just a problem for video streamers with 10s or hundreds of millions of customers, the 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 cost savings. The point is, we must thoroughly and systematically consider where we are investing our compute resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A business software application service will be developed by a devoted codec engineering team that can balance the requirements of bitrate efficiency, quality, and calculate performance. This remains in plain contrast to open-source jobs where contributors have different and individual top priorities and agendas. Precisely why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale. It was constructed to attain a various set of tradeoffs.
Insist internal groups and specialists perform compute efficiency benchmarking on all software application encoding options under factor to consider. The 3 vectors to determine are outright speed (FPS), specific stream density when FPS is held constant, and the total number of channels that can be created on a single server using a nominal ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders should produce equivalent video quality throughout all tests.
With so much upheaval in the distribution design and go-to-market service strategies for streaming entertainment video services, it might be tempting 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 flourish and win versus a progressively competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

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

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