Video: VVC, EVC, LCEVC, WTF? – An update on the next hot codecs from MPEG


The next gen codecs are on their way: VVC, EVC, LCEVC but, given we’re still getting AV1 up and running, why do we need them and when will they be ready?

MPEG are working hard on 3 new video codecs, one in conjunction with the ITU, so Christian Feldmann from Bitmovin is here to explain what each does, the target market, whether it will cost money and when the standard will be finalised.

VVC – Versatile Video Codec – is a fully featured video codec being worked on as a successor to h.265, indeed the ITU call it h.266. MPEG call it MPEG-I Part 3. Christian explains the ways this codec is outperforming its peers including a flexible block partitioning system, motion prediction which can overlap neighbouring macro blocks and triangle prediction to name but three.

EVC is the Essential Video Codec which, intriguingly, offers a baseline which is free to use and a main profile which requires licences. The thinking here is that if you have licensing issues, you have the option of just turning off that feature which could five you extra leverage in patent discussions.

Finally, LCEVC – the Low Complexity Essential Video Codec allows for enhancement layers to be added on top of existing bitstreams. This can allow UHD to be used where only HD was possible before due to being able to share decoding between the ASIC and CPU, for example.

These all have different use cases which Christian explains well, plus he brings some test results along showing the percentage improvement over today’s HEVC encoding.

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Speaker

Christian Feldmann Christian Feldmann
Codec Engineer,
Bitmovin

Video: The critical importance of user experience

Using the TV used to be very simple, but in recent years the different interfaces we have to viewing content and types of interface have proliferated. So how can we keep these interfaces simple and effective?

This panel from the IBC’s Content Everywhere Hub, hosted by Ian Nock, Chair of IET Media introduces the panel which looks at how to make video ‘just work’ and share their experiences.

Gerald Zankl, from Bitmovin makes the point that in this transitioning market, there is still space for linear news channels even in the midst of our video-on-demand-based market.
“It becomes a one-to-one conversation” agrees Renato Bonomini from ContentWise as he explains that there’s a lot of value in having a service you can turn on and rely on it to give you content you want through personalisation. “Search is the failure of recommendations”, Renato concludes.

Social media is another good example of why recommendation engines are important, explains Gerald. With so much information coming in, it’s not practical and would be boring to simply go through them arbitrarily. Similarly, video services with hundreds of thousands of assets also require a system to manage which content to surface.

Simone Leadlay from You.i TV points out “Customers willingness to pay for 250 services is zero.” meaning people find value in one or two services and are very willing to move to another app if their experience isn’t good enough.

The panel discusses the relevance of weekly episode releases in 2019 and then moves to bringing multiple companies together to form one service.

Bitmovin’s Gerald discusses giving feedback to the user if, for example, you can detect there are issues with the platform/local wifi etc. Giving them actionable feedback allows them to improve their experience, either directly or by pressuring their providers.

Simon, explains that the role of all of the companies on the panel is to fight against the challenges, fragmentation of the market (CDNs, codecs) for instance, so that no one notices they’ve done their job.

This panel concludes with a discussion on (actionable) analytics.

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Speakers

Gerald Zankl Gerald Zankl
Global Head of Inside Sales,
Bitmovin
Renato Bonomini Renato Bonomini
VP Global PreSales,
ContentWise
Simon Leadlay Simon Leadlay
VP, Product Market Development
You.i TV
Ian Nock Ian Nock
Chair, IET Media
Chair, Ultra HD Forum

Video: Making Live Streaming More ‘Live’ with LL-CMAF

Squeezing streaming latency down to just a few seconds is possible with CMAF. Bitmovin guides us through what’s possible now and what’s yet to come.

CMAF represents an evolution of the tried and tested technologies HLS and DASH. With massive scalability and built upon the well-worn tenants of HTTP, Netflix and a whole industry was born and is thriving on these still-evolving technologies. But the push to reduce latency further and further has resulted in CMAF which can be used to deliver streams with five to ten times lower latencies.

Paul MacDougall is a Solutions Architect with Bitmovin so is well placed to explain the application of CMAF. Starting with a look at what we mean by low latency, he shows that it’s still quite possible to find HLS latencies of up to a minute but more common latencies now are closer to 30 seconds. But 5 seconds is the golden latency which matches many broadcast mechanisms including digital terrestrial, so it’s no surprise that this is where low latency CMAF is aimed.

CMAF itself is simply a format which unites HLS and DASH under one standard. It doesn’t, in and of itself, mean your stream will be low latency. In fact, CMAF was born out of MPEG’s MP4 standard – officially called ISO BMFF . But you can use CMAF in a low-latency mode which is what this talk focusses on.

Paul looks at what makes up the latency of a typical feed discussing encoding times, playback latency and the other key places. With this groundwork laid, it’s time to look at the way CMAF is chunked and formatted showing that the smaller chunk sizes allow the encoder and player to be more flexible reducing several types of latency down to only a few seconds.

In order to take full advantage of CMAF, the play needs to understand CMAF and Paul explains these adaptations before moving on to the limitations and challenges of using CMAF today. One important change, for instance, is that chunked streaming players (i.e. HLS) have always timed the download of each chunk to get a feel for whether bandwidth was plentiful (download was quicker than time taken to play the chunk) or bandwidth was constrained (the chunk arrived slower than real-time). Based on this, the player could choose to increase or decrease the bandwidth of the stream it was accessing which, in HLS, means requesting a chunk from a different playlist. Due to the improvements in downloading smaller chunks and using real-time transfer techniques such as HTTP/1.1 Chunked Transfer the chunks are all arriving at the download speed. This makes it very hard to make ABR work for LL-CMAF, though there are approaches being tested and trialed not mentioned in the talk.

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Speakers

Paul MacDougall Paul MacDougall
Solutions Architect,
Bitmovin

Video: A Survey Of Per-Title Encoding Technologies

Optimising encoding by per-title encoding is very common nowadays, though per-scene is slowly pushing it aside. But with so many companies offering per-title encoding, how do we determine which way to turn?

Jan Ozer experimented with them, so we didn’t have to. Jan starts by explaining the principles of per-title encoding and giving an overview of the market. He then explains some of the ways in which it works including the importance of changing resolution as much as changing

As well as discussing the results, with Bitmovin being the winner, Jan explains ‘Capped CRF’ – how it works, how it differs from CBR & VBR and why it’s good.

Finally, we are left with some questions to ask when searching for our own per-title technology to solve the problem we have such as “can it adjust rung resolutions?”, “Can you apply traditional data rate controls?” amongst others.

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Speaker

Jan Ozer Jan Ozer
Principal,
Streaming Learning Center