Five Codec-Related Techniques to Cut Bandwidth Costs

Rating techniques that cut bandwidth costs.

The mandate for streaming producers hasn’t changed since we delivered RealVideo streams targeted at 28.8 modems; that is, we must produce the absolute best quality video at the lowest possible bandwidth. With cost control top of mind for many streaming producers, let’s explore five codec-related options to cut bandwidth costs while maintaining quality. For each, I’ll consider the factors summarized …

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Single-Pass vs Two-Pass VBR: Which is Better?

Let’s start this article with a quiz regarding how the quality and encoding speed of two-pass VBR (variable bitrate encoding) compares to single-pass VBR (that’s right, VBR in both cases). Choose the best answer. Two-pass takes twice as long as single-pass but delivers significantly better overall quality. Two-pass takes slightly longer than single-pass but delivers significantly better quality. Two-pass takes …

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My FFmpeg-Related New Year’s Resolution: Document Before I Test

My typical workflow for testing-related articles and reports is to create the command string, run the tests, analyze the results, and then write or create the presentation. Since encoding is often so time-consuming, and I’m always in a hurry, I tend to quickly create the command strings with minimal thought, then run the tests, analyze the results, and start to …

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Transcoding UGC: ASICs Are the Lowest Cost Option

The predominant use for ASIC-based transcoders like NETINT’s Quadra Video Processing Unit (VPU) has been live transcoding for live 4K60P HDR streaming, cloud gaming, interactive video applications, and other high-volume applications. In this post, we explore using Quadra VPUs for large-scale VOD transcoding for applications like user-generated content sites and social media. As you probably know, both Meta and Google …

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Understanding the Economics of Transcoding

A real-world comparison of the cost per stream and OPEX associated with different transcoding techniques.

Whether your business model is FAST or subscription-based premium content, your success depends upon your ability to deliver a high-quality viewing experience while relentlessly reducing costs. Transcoding is one of the most expensive production-related costs and the ultimate determinant of video quality, so obviously plays a huge role on both sides of this equation. This article identifies the most relevant …

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Comparing CPUs, GPUs, and ASICs for High-Volume Transcoding

ASIC was the overall cost and performance leader.

This case study compares CAPEX, power consumption, and co-location costs for GPU, CPU, and ASIC-based transcoding.  This case study was derived from Ilya Mikhaelis‘ recent talk at NETINT’s symposium on Building Your Live Streaming Cloud. Images have been consolidated and modified slightly. You can view Ilya’s talk and download his slides here: bit.ly/vovs.   Ilya Mikhaelis is the streaming backend tech …

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B-Frames, Ultra Low-Latency Encoding, and Parking Lot Rules

One of my sweetest memories of bringing up our two daughters was weekly trips to the grocery store. Each got a $5.00 bribe for accompanying their father, which they happily invested in various tchotchkes that seldom lasted the week. When we exited the car, “parking lot rules” always applied, which meant that each daughter held one of Daddy’s hands for …

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Which is the Best AWS CPU for FFmpeg?

Figure 2. Cost per hour to produce a single 1080p stream using the x264 codec and FFmpeg. Graviton is clearly the most cost effective.

If you encode with FFmpeg on AWS, you probably know that you have three CPU options: AMD, Graviton, and Intel. Which is the best AWS CPU for FFmpeg? This article reveals all. For those in a hurry, it’s Graviton for x264 and AMD for x265, often by a significant margin. But the devil is always in the details, and if …

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The Correct Way to Choose an x264 Preset

To choose the optimal x264 preset, you have to balance encoding and distribution costs. This article shows you how.  Over the last few years, I’ve used the first chart below to represent the tradeoffs associated with different presets and help readers (or listeners) choose a preset. To create the chart, you encode your test files to standard parameters using all …

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A Guide to VVC Deployment

Below are six video presentations and downloadable PDFs relating to VVC deployment from a session at Streaming Media East in 2023, all from recognized experts from companies developing and deploying VVC. The session was sponsored by Access Advance.  The sessions begin with an in-depth exploration of VVC and how it compares to other codecs such as H.264, HEVC, and AV1. …

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