How Software Encoder Compute Efficiency Is Able To Improve Streaming UX Mark Donnigan VP Marketing Beamr



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

Written by:

Mark Donnigan is Vice President of Marketing at Beamr, a high-performance video encoding technology company.


Computer software 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 2 however hardly ever three of the pillars. It does state that to provide the quality of video experience consumers expect, video suppliers will require to examine business services that have been efficiency enhanced 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 business strategies for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be appealing to push down the priority stack selection of new, more efficient software application video encoders. With software application consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen required to flourish and win versus a progressively competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.



How Video Encoder Computing Efficiency Can Impact Streaming Service Quality

Until 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 application consumed the hardware ...

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

"Six decades into the computer transformation, 4 years since the development of the microprocessor, and twenty years into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the innovation needed to change markets 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 nearly completely subsumed video encoding hardware. With software applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to operate on common computing platforms like Intel and AMD based x86 machines, in the data-center and virtual environments, it is entirely precise to state that "software application is consuming (or more appropriately, has actually eaten) the world."

But what does this mean for a technology or video operations executive?

Computer software application is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; appropriately, software application video encoding is essential to video streaming service operations. Software application video encoders can scale without requiring a linear increase in physical area and utilities, unlike hardware.

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

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

The next frontier is software application computing performance.

Bitrate effectiveness with high video quality needs resource-intensive tools, which will lead to slow operational speed or a considerable 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 absolute quality is frequently required.

Codec intricacy, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is outpacing bitrate efficiency improvements and this has actually created the need for video encoder performance optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Generally, this is not an area that video encoding professionals and image researchers require to be interested in, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 illustrates the benefits of a software encoding implementation, which, when all attributes are stabilized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do twice as much deal with 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 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 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 related to the quality of service as an outcome of less devices and less complicated encoding frameworks needed.

For those services who are mainly interested in VOD and H. 264, the right half of the Figure 1 graphic programs the efficiency advantage of a performance enhanced codec application that is set up to produce really high quality with a high bitrate performance. Here one can see as much as a 2x advantage with Beamr 4 compared to x264.

Video encoding calculate resources cost real money.

OPEX is thought about thoroughly by every video supplier. Suppose entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered reliably as a result of a mismatch in between the video operations capability and the expectation of the customer. Bearing in mind that lots of mobile gadgets sold today can 1440p if not 4K screen. And consumers are desiring material that matches the resolution and quality of the devices they bring in their pockets.

Because of efficiency limitations with how the open-source encoder x265 makes use of compute cores, it is not possible to encode a live 4Kp60 video stream on a single maker. This doesn't suggest that live 4K encoding in software isn't possible. However it does say that to provide the quality of video experience consumers expect, video suppliers will need to examine commercial options that have been performance enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those available from AMD and Intel.

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

Video suppliers desiring to utilize software for the flexibility and virtualization alternatives they provide will come across overly made complex engineering difficulties unless they select encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is belonging 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 efficiency and efficiency:

Don't chase the next more innovative codec without considering first the complexity/efficiency quotient. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding group at Netflix for 10 years and recently left to join Facebook in a comparable capacity, recently published an exceptional short article on the topic of codec intricacy titled, "Encoder Complexity Hits the Wall." Though it's tempting to think this is only an issue for video banners with tens or hundreds of countless customers, the same compromise factors to consider Mark Donnigan need to be thought about no matter the size of your operations. A 30% bitrate cost savings for a 1 Mbps 480p H. 264 profile will return a 300 Kbps bandwidth 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 should carefully and systematically consider where we are spending our calculate resources to get the maximum ROI possible.
A commercial software application solution will be developed by a devoted codec engineering team that can stabilize the requirements of bitrate efficiency, quality, and calculate performance. Exactly why the architecture of x264 and x265 can not scale.
Firmly insist internal teams and experts conduct calculate efficiency benchmarking on all software encoding options under factor to consider. The 3 vectors to measure are outright speed (FPS), private stream density when FPS is held consistent, and the overall variety of channels that can be developed on a single server using a small ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders should 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 strategy is for benchmarking the calculate efficiency (efficiency) of each service. With a lot upheaval in the circulation model and go-to-market business plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it may be appealing to lower the priority stack selection of brand-new, more efficient software application video encoders. However, surrendering this work might have a genuine influence on a service's competitiveness and ability to scale to satisfy future entertainment service requirements. With software application consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen required to thrive and win versus an increasingly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketplace.

You can try out Beamr's software video encoders today and get up to 100 hours of complimentary HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding each month. CLICK ON THIS LINK

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