Recent Articles

How to Use Objective Quality Measurement Tools

Every compressed file involves dozens of configuration-related decisions, including resolution, data rate, H.264 profile, VBR or CBR, entropy coding technique, x.264 preset, b-frames, reference frames—the list goes on and on. Most encoding professionals simply use configurations gleaned from presets supplied with their encoding tools, or perhaps from recipes found on the web. But how can you be sure that you’re squeezing the last bit of quality out of the selected data rate, or that your videos are optimally bandwidth-efficient? How can you tell how much additional quality a 1080p@ 7.5Mbps stream delivers over the 5.5Mbps stream?

Fine-Tuning Your Adaptive Encoding Groups With Objective Quality Metrics

Click over to the main article to download the presentation. Here's the description. 

Choosing the number of streams in an adaptive group and configuring them is usually a subjective, touchy-feely exercise, with no way to really gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of the streams. However, by measuring stream quality via metrics such as PSNR, SSIM, and VQM, you can precisely assess the quality delivered by each stream and its relevancy to the adaptive group. This session identifies several key objective quality metrics, teaches how to apply them, and provides an objective framework for analyzing which streams are absolutely required in your adaptive group and their optimal configuration.

Streaming Media East Presentation: Status of HEVC and Other UHD Codecs

johnny-automatic-scales-of-justice-2400px.pngHere's the description; click over to the main story to download the handout.

This session explores the current status of HEVC, including an update on the proposed royalty terms and status of High Dynamic Range Specifications, and the status of competitive technologies such as PERSEUS, VP9, and the codec from the Alliance for Open Media. Video from session also available. 

Handout for Codecs and Packaging 2016

Click over to the main article to download the handout. Here's the description.

As video resolutions increase and target playback platforms multiply, video producers must leave their H.264/HLS/HDS comfort zone and expand into HEVC, VP9, and MPEG-DASH. This workshop is divided into multiple segments by target platform to teach you the applicable standards and best strategies for delivering live and VOD adaptive video to viewers on that platform, both with and without DRM. Along the way, you'll learn options for producing H.264, HEVC, and VP9; the status of standards such as the Media Source Extensions (MSE)and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME); and how and when to utilize them. Attendees walk away knowing the technical requirements for delivering to all key platforms and the best practices for making it happen.

Conference Research Tests Adaptive Video and Quality Benchmarks

The Society for Imaging Science and Technology hosts the annual International Symposium on Electronic Imaging, held this year in San Francisco, California, from February 14 to 18. The Symposium has eight tracks across a range of disciplines, where researchers from industry and academia present papers and findings.

Buyer's Guide to Webcasting Platforms 2016

Viewed from a distance, most webcast providers look pretty similar; they all let you create a registration page, collect contact info for your registrants, and serve attendees a diet of PowerPoint and talking-head video, spiced with quizzes, surveys, and other interactions. They all offer analytics telling you who watched and for how long.

Buyer's Guide to Enterprise YouTube Platforms 2016

Enterprise YouTube platforms enable businesses to share videos with employees, partners, and other viewers; interested parties can then preserve and share the valuable institutional knowledge accumulated in these videos. Most systems function the way you’d expect: You upload videos into the system, which provides content management capabilities, mobile and desktop players, and basic analytics. Enterprise YouTube systems typically provide a channel-based structure for segmenting content for different departments or divisions, with a single sign-on security system that can leverage an existing enterprise security system.

Technical Brief: Switch from CBR to VBR to Improve Overall Quality and Avoid Transient Quality Issues

This article explores the differences between constant bitrate encoding (CBR) and variable bitrate encoding (VBR) and recommends that producers still using CBR should switch to 110% constrained VBR to improve overall quality and avoid transient quality issues with CBR. 

The State of Video Codecs 2016

015 was a tumultuous year for codecs. HEVC seemed like a sure thing in January, looked to be in trouble in July, but was happily resuscitated in December, albeit with some missing productive months from its useful life. Open source codecs began the year with the entropy normal only in the codec world, as entities with clearly aligned goals evolved in completely different directions. Then, in the rarest of occurrences, the companies reversed course and converged toward a single standard, which almost certainly helped shove HEVC back on its intended path. Along the way, there were some interesting new technologies making the usual bold (and unproven) claims of pristine quality at seemingly impossible data rates (PERSEUS, Tveon). In case you missed it all, here is your codec year in review.

Five Signs Your Encoding Ladder May Be Obsolete

Your encoding ladder is the set of encoding parameters that you use to create the various files that you deliver adaptively to your web viewers. These encoding parameters can live in your on-premise encoder, in your cloud encoder, or in your online video platform (OVP). This article describes five signs that indicate that you may need to revisit your encoding ladder. 

Recent Blogs

How to Build Your Encoding Ladder, Bitrates and Resolution

Stephen Nathans-Kelly, a video producer at Streaming Media Magazine, is carving conference videos into short useful segments. Here are the first two videos on building your encoding ladder from my talk on how to use objective quality metrics you can ...

Book Excerpt: VBV Buffer Explained

One of the topics I'm addressing in my upcoming book is the VBR rate control model, a very complicated concept. Here's the section in the book, which I'm making available for comments, corrections, and clarifications. I'm pretty sure the technical de...

The Four Pillars of Video Encoding

  Figure 1. The four critical aspects to consider when encoding a file. Executive Summary: While video quality is always top of mind, consider deliverability, compatibility, and playability before finalizing your encoding presets.  Too often we loo...

Encoding Brief: Apple Releases HLS Authoring Specification for Apple TV

Executive Summary: In October 2015, Apple released a  document entitled HLS Authoring Specifications for Apple TV (HLS stands for HTTP Live Streaming, the adaptive bit rate technology used to deliver video to Apple TV and other iOS devices). If you'...

Netflix Admits to Throttling AT&T and Verizon Cellular Movies

Last week, Netflix admitted that they artificially throttle the data rate of videos transmitted over AT&T and Verizon cellular networks to limit bandwidth consumption and the associated overage charges. Netflix doesn't throttle video streams tran...