Ways Software Encoder Performance Impacts Video Experience 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 innovation company.

Computer software is the bedrock of every function and department in the enterprise; appropriately, software video encoding is vital to video streaming service operations. It's possible to enhance a video codec implementation and video encoder for 2 however rarely three of the pillars. It does say that to deliver the quality of video experience customers anticipate, video suppliers will need to evaluate commercial solutions that have been performance enhanced for high core counts and multi-threaded processors such as those offered from AMD and Intel.

With so much upheaval in the circulation model and go-to-market company plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be tempting to press down the top priority stack selection of brand-new, more efficient software video encoders. With software application consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen needed to flourish 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 after that, software application consumed the hardware ...

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

"6 years into the computer revolution, four decades given that the innovation of the microprocessor, and two years into the rise of the modern Web, all of the innovation required to transform industries through software application finally works and can be extensively delivered at worldwide scale." Marc Andreessen
In following with Marc Andreessen's prediction, today, software-based video encoders have actually nearly totally subsumed video encoding hardware. With software application applications devoid of purpose-built hardware and able to run 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 is consuming (or more appropriately, has actually eaten) the world."

What does this mean for a technology or video operations executive?

Computer software is the bedrock of every function and department in the business; accordingly, software application video encoding is important to video streaming service operations. Software application video encoders can scale without needing a linear increase in physical area and utilities, unlike hardware. And software can be walked around the network and even entire data-centers in near real-time to meet capability overruns or momentary rises. Software is much more versatile than hardware.

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

It's possible to optimize a video codec execution and video encoder for 2 but seldom three of the pillars. Many video encoding operations thus focus on quality and bitrate efficiency, leaving the calculate efficiency vector open as a sort of wild card. As you will see, this is no longer a competitive method.

The next frontier is software application computing efficiency.

Bitrate efficiency with high video quality requires resource-intensive tools, which will cause slow operational speed or a substantial increase 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 frequently needed.

Codec intricacy, such as that needed by HEVC, AV1, and the upcoming VVC, is exceeding bitrate performance advancements and this has produced the requirement for video encoder efficiency optimization. Put another method, speed matters. Generally, this is not an area that video encoding practitioners and image scientists have needed to be worried about, but that is no longer the case.

Figure 1 shows the advantages of a software encoding application, which, when all characteristics are stabilized, such as FPS and objective quality metrics, can do two times as much work on the specific very 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 requiring 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 four individual streams on a single AWS EC2 C5.18 more info here xlarge instance while x265 operating in 'ultrafast' can not reach 60 FPS at 4K. As you can see in this poignant example, codec efficiency is straight associated to the quality of service as a result of fewer machines and less complex encoding structures required.

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

Video encoding compute resources cost real money.

OPEX is thought about carefully by every video supplier. Suppose home entertainment experiences like live 4K streaming can not be delivered dependably as a result of an inequality in between the video operations ability and the expectation of the consumer.

Since of performance restrictions with how the open-source encoder x265 utilizes 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 anticipate, video distributors 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 application to be optimized for higher core counts was just recently highlighted by AMD CTO Mark Papermaster in an interview with Tom's Hardware.

Video distributors wishing to utilize software application for the flexibility and virtualization options they offer will come across excessively made complex engineering hurdles unless they select encoding engines where multi-processor scaling is native to the architecture of the software application encoder.
Here is a post that reveals the speed advantage of Beamr 5 over x265.

Things to consider concerning computing effectiveness and performance:

Do not go after the next more advanced codec without considering first the complexity/efficiency quotient. Dave Ronca, who led the encoding team at Netflix for ten years and recently left to join Facebook in a similar capacity, recently released an excellent article on the subject of codec complexity entitled, "Encoder Intricacy Strikes the Wall." Though it's appealing to think this is only a concern for video banners with 10s or numerous countless customers, the same compromise factors to consider need to be thought about regardless of the size of your operations. A 30% bitrate cost savings for a 1 Mbps 480p H. 264 profile will return a 300 Kbps bandwidth cost savings. While a 30% savings at 1080p (H. 264), which is encoded at 3.5 Mbps, will give more than triple the return, at a 1 Mbps cost savings. The point is, we should carefully and systematically think about where we are spending our compute resources to get the optimum ROI possible.
An industrial software option will be constructed by a devoted 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 teams and experts conduct calculate efficiency benchmarking on all software encoding services under consideration. The three vectors to determine 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 nominal ABR stack such as 4K, 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 360p. All encoders need to produce equivalent video quality throughout all tests.
With so much turmoil in the circulation design and go-to-market organisation plans for streaming home entertainment video services, it might be appealing to press down the priority stack selection of new, more effective software application video encoders. With software consuming the video encoding function, calculate efficiency is now the oxygen needed to flourish and win against an increasingly competitive and crowded direct-to-consumer (D2C) market.

You can attempt out Beamr's software video encoders today and get up to 100 hours of complimentary HEVC and H. 264 video transcoding monthly. CLICK HERE

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