Video: AV1 Commercial Readiness Panel

With two years of development and deployments under its belt, AV1 is still emerging on to the codec scene. That’s not to say that it’s no in use billions of times a year, but compared to the incumbents, there’s still some distance to go. Known as very slow to encode and computationally impractical, today’s panel is here to say that’s old news and AV1 is now a real-time codec.

Brought together by Jill Boyce with Intel, we hear from Amazon, Facebook, Googles, Amazon, Twitch, Netflix and Tencent in this panel. Intel and Netflix have been collaborating on the SVT-AV1 encoder and decoder framework for two years. The SVT-AV1 encoder’s goal was to be a high-performance and scalable encoder and decoder, using parallelisation to achieve this aim.

Yueshi Shen from Amazon and Twitch is first to present, explaining that for them, AV1 is a key technology in the 5G area. They have put together a 1440p, 120fps games demo which has been enabled by AV1. They feel that this resolution and framerate will be a critical feature for Twitch in the next two years as computer games increasingly extend beyond typical broadcast boundaries. Another key feature is achieving an end-to-end latency of 1.5 seconds which, he says, will partly be achieved using AV1. His company has been working with SOC vendors to accelerate the adoption of AV1 decoders as their proliferation is key to a successful transition to AV1 across the board. Simultaneously, AWS has been adding AV1 capability to MediaConvert and is planning to continue AV1 integration in other turnkey content solutions.

David Ronca from Facebook says that AV1 gives them the opportunity to reduce video egress bandwidth whilst also helping increase quality. For them, SVT-AV1 has brought using AV1 into the practical domain and they are able to run AV1 payloads in production as well as launch a large-scale decoder test across a large set of mobile devices.

Matt Frost represent’s Google Chrome and Android’s point of view on AV1. Early adopters, having been streaming partly using AV1 since 2018 in resolution small and large, they have recently added support in Duo, their Android video-conferencing application. As with all such services, the pandemic has shown how important they can be and how important it is that they can scale. Their move to AV1 streaming has had favourable results which is the start of the return on their investment in the technology.

Google’s involvement with the Alliance for Open Media (AOM), along with the other founding companies, was born out of a belief that in order to achieve the scales needed for video applications, the only sensible future was with cheap-to-deploy codecs, so it made a lot of sense to invest time in the royalty-free AV1.

Andrey Norkin from Netflix explains that they believe AV1 will bring a better experience to their members. Netflix has been using AV1 in streaming since February 2020 on android devices using a software decoder. This has allowed them to get better quality at lower bitrates than VP9 Testing AV1 on other platforms. Intent on only using 10-bit encodes across all devices, Andrey explains that this mode gives the best efficiency. As well as being founding members of AoM, Netflix has also developed AVIF which is an image format based on AV1. According to Andrey, they see better performance than most other formats out there. As AVIF works better with text on pictures than other formats, Netflix are intending to use it in their UI.

Tencent’s Shan Liu explains that they are part of the AoM because video compression is key for most Tencent businesses in their vast empire. Tencent cloud has already launched an AV1 transcoding service and support AV1 in VoD.

The panel discusses low-latency use of AV1, with Dave Ronca explaining that, with the performance improvements of the encoder and decoders along-side the ability to tune the decode speed of AV1 by turning on and off certain tools, real-time AV1 are now possible. Amazon is paying attention to low-end, sub $300 handsets, according to Yueshi, as they believe this will be where the most 5G growth will occur so site recent tests showing decoding AV1 in only 3.5 cores on a mobile SOC as encouraging as it’s standard to have 8 or more. They have now moved to researching battery life.

The panel finishes with a Q&A touching on encoding speed, the VVC and LCEVC codecs, the Sisvel AV1 patent pool, the next ramp-up in deployments and the roadmap for SVT-AV1.

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Speakers

Yueshi Shen Yueshi Shen
Principle Engineer
AWS & Twitch
David Ronca David Ronca
Video Infrastructure Team,
Facebook
Matt Frost Matt Frost
Product Manager, Chome Media Technologies,
Google
Andrey Norkin Andrey Norkin
Emerging Technologies Team
Netflix
Shan Liu Dr Shan Liu
Chief Scientist & General Manager,
Tencent Media Lab
Jill Boyce Jill Boyce
Intel

Video: Pervasive video deep-links

Google have launched a new initiative allowing publishers to highlight key moments in a video so that search results can jump straight to that moment. Whether you have a video that looks at 3 topics, one which poses questions and provides answers or one which has a big reveal and reaction shots, this could help increase engagement.

The plan is the content creators tell Google about these moments so Paul Smith from theMoment.tv takes to the stage at San Francisco Video Tech to explain how. After looking at a live demo, Paul takes a dive into the webpage code that makes it happen. Hidden in the tag, he shows the script which has its type set to application/ld+json. This holds the metadata for the video as a whole such as the thumbnail URL and the content URL. However it also then defines the highlighted ‘parts’ of the video with URLs for those.

Whiles the programme is currently limited to a small set of content publishers, everyone can benefit from these insights on google video search. It will also look at YouTube descriptions in which some people give links to specific times such as different tracks in a music mix, and bring those into the search results.

Paul looks at what this means for website and player writers. On suggestion is the need to scroll the page to the correct video and make the different videos on a page clearly signposted. Paul also looks towards the future at what could be done to better integrate with this feature. For example updating the player UI to see and create moments or improve the ability to seek to sub-second accuracy. Intriguingly he suggests that it may be advantageous to synchronise segment timings with the beginning of moments for popular video. Certainly food for thought.

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Speaker

Paul Smith Paul Smith
Founder,
theMoment.tv

Video: A Technical Overview of AV1

If there’s any talk that cuts through the AV1 hype, it must be this one. The talk from the @Scale conference starts by re-introducing AV1 and AoM but then moves quickly on to encoding techniques and the toolsets now available in AV1.

Starting by looking at the evolution from VP9 to AV1, Google engineer Yue Chen looks at:

  • Extended Reference Frames
  • Motion Vector Prediction
  • Dynamic Motion Vector Referencing
  • Overlapped Block Motion Compensation
  • Masked Compound Prediction
  • Warped Motion Compensation
  • Transform (TX) Coding, Kernels & Block Partitioning
  • Entropy Coding
  • AV1 Symbol Coding
  • Level-map TX Coefficient Coding
  • Restoration and Post-Processing
  • Constrained Dire. Enhancement Filtering
  • In-loop restoration & super resolution
  • Film Grain Synthesis

The talk finishes by looking at Compression Efficiency of AV1 against both HEVC (x.265) & VP9 (libvpx) then coding complexity in terms of speed plus what’s next on the roadmap!

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Speaker

Yue Chen Yue Chen
Senior AV1 Engineer,
Google

Video: The Past, Present and Future of AV1

AV1 has strong backing from tech giants but is still seldom seen in the wild. Find out what the plans are for the future with Google’s Debargha Mukherjee.

Debargha’s intent in this talk is simple: to frame a description of what AV1 can do and is doing today in terms of the history of the codec and looking forward to the future and a potential AV2.

The talk starts by demonstrating the need for better video codecs not least of which is the statistic that by 2021, 81% of the internet’s traffic is expected to be video. But on top of that, there is a frustration with the slow decade-long refresh process which is traditional for video codecs. In order to match the new internet landscape with fast-evolving services, it seemed appropriate to have a codec which not only delivered better encoding but also saw a quicker five-year refresh cycle.

As a comparison to the royalty-free AV1, Debargha then looks at VP9 it is deployed. Further more, VP10 who’s development was stopped and diverted into the AV1 effort which is then the topic for the next part of the talk; the Alliance for Open Media, the standardisation process and then a look at some of the encoding tools available to archive the stated aims.

To round off the description of what’s presently happening with AV1 trials of VP9, HEVC and AV1 are shown demonstrating AV1s ability to improve compression for a certain quality. Bitmovin and Facebook’s tests are also highlighted along with speed tests.

Looking, now, to the future, the talk finishes by explaining the future roadmap for hardware decoding and other expected milestones in the coming years plus the software work such as SVT-AV1 and DAV1D for optimised encoding and decoding. With the promised five-year cycle, we need to look forward now to AV2 and Debargha discusses what it might be and what it would need to achieve.

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Speaker

Debargha Mukherjee Debargha Mukherjee
Principal Software Engineer,
Google