Codecs

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Lesson of the Week: Codecs are Not Generic

I discuss the bandwidth savings delivered by VP9 and HEVC over H264 in my course Streaming Media 101: Technical Onboarding for Streaming Media Professionals. I wanted to illustrate this with my own tests, so I used FFmpeg to encode H.264, HEVC, and VP9 output using about 25 short test files. This felt like a good time to discuss the difference …

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Tuning for Metrics: What About VMAF and VP9?

If you’re comparing codecs with video quality metrics, you should consider tuning for that metric. However, x264 and x265 don’t have a VMAF tuning option. According to my analysis, it appears that tuning for PSNR is the best option and one you should strongly consider. When working with VP9, there’s an additional complication; tuning for PSNR doesn’t appear to work.  …

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Encoding VP9 in FFmpeg: An Update

This is a long post only of interest to those attempting to optimize their VP9 encodes. The three key takeaways are 1) use the command script shown on the bottom of the page, 2) a speed setting of 2 offers the optimal quality/performance tradeoff, and 3) the row-mt setting improves performance significantly with zero quality loss when multiple unused cores …

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Balance of Power Shifts Among HEVC Patent Pools

Nine members of the MPEG LA HEVC patent pool are leaving the pool and now will be included within the HEVC Advance HEVC pool. This changes the balance of power between these two pools, though licensees who signed with the MPEG LA pool before the departures will continue to have coverage for these patents going forward. The MPEG LA pool, which has more …

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NETINT Transcoder Tops in Subjective HEVC Benchmark Comparison

On September 11, 2019, Streaming Media Magazine published an article entitled Hardware-Based Transcoding Solutions Roundup: Testing Performance, that compared various H.264 and HEVC encoders using objective and subjective testing. The HEVC encoders tested included Intel’s SVT (Scalable Video Technology)-HEVC, a software-based codec; NGCodec’s FPGA-based HEVC encoder (now owned by Xilinx) and x265 using the medium and veryfast presets. After the …

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What Is VVC?

Versatile Video Coding (VVC) is a codec “drafted by a joint collaborative team of ITU-T and ISO/IEC experts known as the Joint Video Experts Team (JVET), which is a partnership of the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG),” as MPEG explains. The codec is designed to meet upcoming needs in videoconferencing, OTT streaming, mobile telephony, …

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What Is the Versatile Video Codec?

My article, What is VVC, just published on Streaming Media. Briefly, VVC is “codec next” from the perspective of MPEG (see image above) that’s due out in mid-to-late 2020. The Streaming Media article identifies the new “tools” in the codec, early performance results, and what we know about licensing. It’s way too early for most producers to start thinking about …

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The Need for Speed: Demand for Low-Latency Streaming Is High

According to Bitmovin’s “Video Developer Report 2019,” latency was a concern of 54% of all its survey participants. Digging into the numbers, subsequent questions revealed that almost 50% of survey participants planned to implement a low-latency technology over the next 1–2 years, with over 50% seeking latency of under 5 seconds and 30% seeking latency of under 1 second (See …

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Choosing an x264 Preset

All codecs and encoding tools have a configuration option that controls the quality/encoding time tradeoff. With x264 (and x265) the preset controls that tradeoff. When choosing a preset you should consider 3 criteria: Overall quality – the overall quality produced by that preset Low frame quality – the quality of the lowest frame produced by that preset, which indicates the …

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Hey AOM: Where’s the Beef?

I just saw Vimeo’s “isn’t it wonderful that we’re publishing video with AV1” announcement and felt the need to call BS. First, it’s time to stop calling AV1 royalty-free and promoting the Alliance for Open Media (AOM) as some kind of noble effort to keep video on the web free. Second, don’t tell me that you’re using AV1 to “embrace …

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