Finding the Optimal Top Rung Data Rate

Table 2. Top-rung quality of these UGC and premium services.

The top rung of your encoding ladder is the most expensive to deliver, and in many regions, it’s also the most frequently viewed. Encode at too high a bit rate and you’re wasting money; encode too low, and you’re potentially reducing viewer quality of experience. This makes choosing the top rung bitrate a key task for all streaming producers. This …

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Per-Title Encoding 2022

My article, Buyers’ Guide to Per-Title Encoding is up on Streaming Media. Per-title encoding is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to reduce streaming bandwidth, increase viewer QoE, or accomplish both. It’s becoming a standard feature in cloud-encoding services. The article begins with an overview of what per-title encoding is and why it’s important. Then it compares per-title …

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Encoding for Transcoding vs Encoding for Distribution

A consulting client sent the following command string for a 1080p file they were encoding for upload to Vimeo, their online video platform. crf=20:vbv-maxrate=10000:vbv-bufsize=9500 What’s wrong with these parameters? First, some theory. One distinction to understand when encoding files is the difference between producing a mezzanine file to use for subsequent transcoding and encoding for distribution. When producing a mezzanine …

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Estimating the Bitrate for 8K Videos When Encoding with HEVC and AV1

It’s a well-known and oft-repeated truism that codecs operate more efficiently at higher resolutions. The question is, is the truism really true? It turns out that it is, and we prove it below. To lend numbers to our truism and focus the issue, the basic question is this. 8K video has 16 times the pixels of 1080p videos. So, if …

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Constrained VBR Levels of the Rich and Famous

I’ve been wondering if publishers still care about constraining their maximum bitrates (see here for more background), so I grabbed my copy of youtube-dl and performed a little study. The TL/DR version seems to be that new media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo don’t strictly adhere to the typical 200% constrained VBR limit while traditional publishers seem to, though …

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Does Anyone Care About Constrained VBR Anymore?

I’m comparing cloud-based per-title VOD encoding technologies for a report I hope to publish in the near term. In an attempt to create a level playing field I set the following specifications. 2-second GOP 200% constrained VBR 2-second VBV buffer Kind of like you were encoding with FFmpeg and using these parameters -b:v 2600k -maxrate 5200k -bufsize 5200k All cloud services …

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Bitmovin Video Developer Report Reports on Codec Usage

Bitmovin Video Developer Report

Every year around this time, like an early Christmas present, Bitmovin releases its Annual Video Developer’s Report, a must-read for all streaming media professionals. Now in its fifth year, the report contains valuable insights regarding codec usage, production workflows, and the issues that are keeping streaming professionals up at night, literally or metaphorically. To produce the report, Bitmovin surveyed 538 …

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VVC Performance, Royalty, and Implementation Status

Figure 5. VMAF BD-Rate table for multiple codec implementations.

VVC reached First Draft International Specification in July 2020. We’re about 18 months past that date and it’s useful to check in on VVC progress to date, including licensing, performance, chipset development, and trials. VVC Patent Owners Video quality is nice, but money makes the world go-’round, so let’s start here. Understand that video compression standards like VVC will have …

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Does FFmpeg 5 Break Your Scripts?

FFmpeg turns 5.0; the new release has big API changes but doesn’t appear to break existing command scripts, though x265-based encodes are worth checking. As much as we like major releases of programs that we know and love, one big question is always whether it changes how we use the program. If you haven’t heard, on January 17, 2022, FFmpeg …

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Learn to Use AWS Elemental Auto-ABR

A recent tutorial posted on Streaming Media Magazine details how to use AWS Elemental’s Auto-ABR feature. Here’s the scintillating intro. Per-title encoding has been around since 2016, delivering significant bandwidth savings, QoE improvements, or both to companies that deploy it (click here for a backgrounder on per-title encoding). Those benefits notwithstanding, a recent Bitmovin survey revealed that only 35% of …

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