Ways Video Encoder Performance Impacts Streaming Quality Mark Donnigan VP Marketing Beamr



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

Written by:

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


Computer software is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; appropriately, software video encoding is necessary to video streaming service operations. It's possible to optimize a video codec implementation and video encoder for 2 but seldom 3 of the pillars. It does say that to deliver the quality of video experience consumers anticipate, video distributors will require to assess industrial services 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 circulation model and go-to-market company plans for streaming entertainment video services, it might be appealing to push down the top priority stack choice of new, more effective software application video encoders. With software consuming the video encoding function, compute performance is now the oxygen required to flourish and win versus a significantly competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.



How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Until public clouds and ubiquitous computing turned software-based video operations mainstream, the procedure of video encoding was performed with purpose-built hardware.

And after that, software application ate the hardware ...

Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and a16z the renowned equity capital firm with investments in Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, box, Lyft, Airbnb, and other equally disruptive companies, penned an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 entitled "Why Software Is Consuming The World." A version of this post can be found on the a16z.com site here.

"Six years into the computer transformation, four decades since the development of the microprocessor, and two years into the rise of the contemporary Web, all of the innovation required to change markets through software lastly works and can be widely delivered at international 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 application 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 accurate to say that "software application is consuming (or more properly, 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; appropriately, software video encoding is essential 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 three pillars that every video encoding engineer should address are bitrate efficiency, quality conservation, and calculating performance.

It's possible to optimize a video codec implementation and video encoder for 2 however rarely 3 of the pillars. The majority of video encoding operations therefore focus on quality and bitrate efficiency, leaving the compute performance 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 performance with high video quality requires resource-intensive tools, which will cause slow operational speed or a substantial boost in CPU overhead. For a live encoding application where the encoder need to operate at high speed to reach 60 frames-per-second (FPS), a compromise in bitrate effectiveness or absolute quality is often required.

Codec intricacy, such as that required by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is outmatching bitrate performance improvements and this has actually created the requirement for video encoder efficiency optimization. Put another way, speed matters. Generally, this is not an area that video encoding professionals and image researchers have actually needed to be worried about, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 shows the benefits of a software encoding application, which, when all attributes are normalized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do two times as much deal with the precise same AWS EC2 C5.18 xlarge circumstances.

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 equivalent 'ultrafast' mode can encode four specific 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 machines and less complicated encoding structures required.

For those services who are mainly worried about VOD and H. 264, the best half of the Figure 1 graphic shows the efficiency benefit of an efficiency optimized codec execution that is set up to produce very high quality with a high bitrate effectiveness. Here one can see approximately a 2x benefit with Beamr 4 compared to x264.

Video encoding compute resources cost real money.

OPEX is thought about carefully by every video supplier. But expect home entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered dependably as a result of a mismatch in between the video operations ability and the expectation of the consumer. Keeping in mind that numerous mobile gadgets offered today can 1440p if not 4K display. And consumers are desiring content that matches the resolution and quality of the devices they carry in their pockets.

Because of performance restrictions with how the open-source encoder x265 uses compute cores, it is not possible to encode a live 4Kp60 video stream on a single device. This does not suggest that live 4K encoding in software application isn't possible. But it does state that to deliver the quality of video experience customers expect, video suppliers will need to assess business solutions that have been efficiency optimized for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

The need for software application to be enhanced for higher 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 alternatives they provide will come across excessively made complex engineering difficulties unless they pick encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software encoder.
Here is a short article that reveals the speed benefit of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to believe about concerning computing effectiveness and performance:

It's appealing to believe this is just an issue for video streamers with 10s or hundreds of click here millions of subscribers, the exact same trade-off considerations must be considered 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 need to carefully and systematically think about where we are spending our compute resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A commercial software option will be constructed by a dedicated 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.
Firmly insist internal groups and experts conduct calculate efficiency benchmarking on all software encoding solutions under consideration. The three vectors to measure are absolute speed (FPS), specific stream density when FPS is held continuous, and the total number of channels that can be produced on a single server using a small ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders must produce equivalent video quality throughout all tests.
The next time your technical group plans a video encoder shoot out, ensure to ask what their test strategy is for benchmarking the compute performance (efficiency) of each service. With so much turmoil in the distribution model and go-to-market organisation prepare 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. However, surrendering this work could have a genuine effect on a service's competitiveness and ability to scale to fulfill future entertainment service requirements. With software eating the video encoding function, calculate performance is now the oxygen required to flourish and win against a significantly competitive and congested direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

You can experiment with 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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