Recent Articles

How To: Build Your Own Cloud Encoder With FFmpeg

Here's the session description; click over to the main article to download the handout.

Almost all of the commercial cloud encoding services, and many of the largest streaming producers encode in the cloud using FFmpeg. It’s cheap, relatively simple, and highly effective. To accomplish this yourself, you need two basic skill sets; first how to encode with FFmpeg, and then how to automate, schedule, and manage the encoding processes. This presentation will detail how to produce H.264 files with FFmpeg, and describe the tools and techniques available to simplify the automation and management of these encoding jobs for both live and VOD encoding.

D101 - How To: Fine-Tuning Your Adaptive Encoding Groups With Objective Quality Metrics

Here's the session description; click over to the main article to download the handout

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 presentation 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

W2: Encoding 2016: Codecs and Packaging for PCs, Mobile and OTT/STB/Smart TVs

Here's the description for my workshop at Streaming Media West:

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, attendees 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.

You can download the handout by clicking over to the complete article. 

Cloud Pricing Survey Shows Hybrik Least Expensive Option By Far

I recently finished a white paper comparing the pricing for a new cloud encoding service named Hybrik with multiple cloud providers, including Amazon Elastic Transcoder, Microsoft Azure, Bitmovin, encoding.com, Telestream Cloud, and Zencoder. The white-paper was sponsored by Hybrik, and you can download it by clicking over to the main article. 

Bitrate Control and QoE-CBR is Better

When distributing video under constrained conditions, the bitrate control technique used to encode the files can have a profound impact on the quality of experience (QoE). Specifically, under some conditions, CBR-encoded files deliver a superior QoE to files encoded using 200% constrained VBR, while also reducing the overall bandwidth delivered.

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.

Recent Blogs

Meet Charles Web Debugging Proxy-My New Favorite Tool

According to the Charles Proxy website, “Charles is an HTTP proxy / HTTP monitor / Reverse Proxy that enables a developer to view all of the HTTP and SSL / HTTPS traffic between their machine and the Internet. This includes requests, responses and ...

Choosing the Optimal Segment Duration

Summary When choosing an HLS or DASH segment duration for VOD video, the nature of the server/player connection is critical. For persistent connections, a segment size of two-three seconds produces good quality and optimal system throughput. For non-...

HP Takes Z240 to 4.2 GHz; Makes Entire Workstation Line More Mac Friendly

One of the reasons I favor HP workstations is because HP practices the Japanese art of kaizen, or continuous small improvements. A great example is the recent update to HP’s entry level desktop tower, the Z240 (on the left, click to see full rez pi...

Per-Title Encoding: It's Everywhere!

Netflix started the per-title encode optimization revolution in December 2015, and now per-title encoding is showing up in more and more places. Why? Because it improves the quality of hard-to-encode videos, and saves bandwidth costs on easier-to-enc...

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 ...