Video: Codec Comparison from TCO and Compression Efficiency Perspective

AVC, now 16 years old, is long in the tooth but supported by billions of devices. The impetus to replace it comes from the drive to serve customers with a lower cost/base and a more capable platform. Cue the new contenders VVC and AV1 – not to mention HEVC. It’s no surprise they comptes better then AVC (also known as MPEG 4 and h.264) but do they deliver a cost efficient, legally safe codec on which to build a business?

Thierry Fautier has done the measurements and presents them in this talk. Thierry explains that the tests were done using reference code which, though unoptimised for speed, should represent the best quality possible from each codec and compared 1080p video all of which is reproduced in the IBC conference paper.

Licensing is one important topic as, by some, HEVC is seen as a failed codec not in terms of its compression but rather in the réticente by many companies to deploy it which has been due to the business risk of uncertain licensing costs and/or the expense of the known licensing costs. VVC faces the challenge of entering the market and avoiding these concerns which MPEG is determined to do.

Thierry concludes by comparing AVC against HEVC, AV1 and VVC in terms of deployment dates, deployed devices and the deployment environment. He looks at the challenge of moving large video libraries over to high-complexity codecs due to cost and time required to re-compress. The session ends with questions from the audience.
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Thierry Fautier Thierry Fautier
President-Chair at Ultra HD Forum,
VP Video Strategy, Harmonic

Video: A Standard for Video QoE Metrics

A standard in progress for quality of experience networks, rebufereing time etc. Under the CTA standards body wanting to create a standard around these metrics. The goal of the group is to come up with a standard set of player events, metrics & terminology around QoE streaming. Concurrent viewers, isn’t that easy to define? If the user is paused, are they concurrently viewing the video? Buffer underruns is called rebuffering, stalling, waiting. Intentionally focussing on what the viewers actually see and experience. QoS is a measurement of how well the platform is performing, not necessarily the same as what they are experiencing.

The standard has ideas of different levels. There are player properties and events which are standardised ways of signalling that certain things are happening. Also Session Metrics are defined which then can feed into Aggregate Metrics. The first set of metrics include things such as playback failure percentage, average playback stalled rate, average startup time and playback rate with the aim of setting up a baseline and to start to get feedback from companies as they implement these, seemingly simple, metrics.

This first release can be found on github.

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Steve Heffernan Steve Heffernan
Co-Founder, Head of Product,

Video: Specification of Live Media Ingest

“Standardisation is more than just a player format”. There’s so much to a streaming service than the video, a whole ecosystem needs to work together. In this talk from Comcast’s Mile High Video 2019, we see how different parts of the ecosystem are being standardised for live ingest.

RTMP and Smooth streaming are being phased out – without proper support for HEVC, VVC, HDR etc. they are losing relevance as well as, in the case of RTMP, support from the format itself. Indeed it’s clear that fragmented MP4 (fMP4) and CMAF are taking hold in their place so it makes sense for a new ingest standard to coalesce around these formats.

Rufael Mekuria from Unified streaming explains this effort to create a spec around live media ingest that is happening as part of MPEG DASH-IF. The work itself started at the end of 2017 with the aim of publishing summer 2019 supporting CMAF and DASH/HLS interfaces.

Rufael explains CMAF ingest used HTTP post to move each media stream to the origin packager. The tracks are separated into video, audio, timed text, subtitle and timed metadata. They are all transferred on separate tracks and is compatible with future codecs. He also covers security and timed text before covering DASH/HLS ingest which can also contain CMAF because HLS contains the capability to contain CMAF.

Reference software is available along with the <a href=”http://”” rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>specification.

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Rufael Mekuria Rufael Mekuria
Head of Research & Standardisation,
Unified Streaming

Video: DASH Updates

MPEG DASH is a standardised method for encapsulating media for streaming similar to Apple’s HLS. Based on TCP, MPEG DASH is a widely compatible way of streaming video and other media over the internet.

MPEG DASH is now on its 3rd edition, its first standard being in 2011. So this talk starts by explaining what’s new as of July 2019 in this edition. Furthermore, there are amendments already worked on which are soon to add more features.

Iraj Sodagar explains Service Descriptors which will be coming that allow the server to encapsulate metadata for the player which describes how the publisher intended to show the media. Maximum and minimum latency and quality is specified. for instance. The talk explains how these are used and why they are useful.

Another powerful metadata feature is the Initialization Set, Group and Presentation which gives the decoder a ‘heads up’ on what the next media will need in terms of playback. This allows the player to politely decline to play the media if it can’t display it. For instance, if a decoder doesn’t supply AV1, this can be identified before needing to attempt a decode or download a chunk.

Iraj then explains what will be in the 4th edition including the above, signalling leap seconds and much more. This should be published over the next few months.

Amendement 1 is working towards a more accurate timing model of events and defining a specific DASH profile for CMAF (the low-latency streaming technology based on DASH) which Iraj explains in detail.

Finishing off with session based DASH operations, a look over the DASH workplan/roadmap, ad insertion, event and timed metadata processing, this is a great, detailed look at the DASH of today and of 2020.

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Iraj Sodagar Iraj Sodagar
Independant Consultant