In Broadcast - May 2013 - 42


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 19 - MAY 2013

N E W S

InUSA

The Promise Of HEVC Compression
High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as MPEG-5 (or H.265) compression, has long
promised to distribute more content over more types of bandwidth-constrained networks…

By Michael Grotticelli
Contributing Editor

I

42

t’s a technology that has yet to be
standardised – that’s coming later
this year – but was demonstrated in
a myriad of prototypes at the recent
2013 NAB Show.
The benefits to multiplatform
delivery associated with the new
HEVC is said to offer a 50%
improvement in bit-rate efficiency
when compared to the AVC scheme,
while maintaining the same image
quality or better. That means
operators can distribute more
content over the same file-based
infrastructure. It also saves on
content storage space.
H o w e v e r, t h e n e e d f o r
significantly more processing
power to accurately compress
such files and the industry’s ongoing H.264 (AVC) deployments,
could delay widespread adoption
of HEVC among multichannel
operators for years.
Like H.264 before it, HEVC is
the latest version of the MPEG
standard. It reduced file sizes by
recognising the difference in motion
between frames, and finding nearidentical areas within a single frame.
With HEVC, these similarities are
subtracted from subsequent frames
and whatever is left in each partial
frame is mathematically transformed
to reduce the amount of data
needed to store each frame. This
results in smaller files with nearly the
same quality as the 4K original, for
example, which makes them easier
to distribute.

Prototype Solutions
At the NAB Show companies like
Elemental Technologies, Ericsson,
Fraunhofer Institute, Harmonic,
Media Excel, Motorola, Rovi Corp.
and Vanguard Video all showed
hardware and software solutions
(in prototype form) and side-by-side
demonstrations of H.265 and H.264
encoding to compare image quality
results. In all cases the H.265
decode looked visibly better, even
at bit rates as low as 5 Mbps.
Because multichannel operators
must process hundreds of files
simultaneously to accommodate the
different display devices, the need
for real-time HEVC encoding is key.
Most of the companies at the show
demonstrated the ability to process

on-demand files in real-time, but
live encoding in real-time requires
more processing and is harder to
accomplish elegantly.
It was said that HEVC processing
requires ten times more processing
than AVC on the encode side and two
to three times more by comparison
for the decode. That foreshadows
the need for sophisticated parallel
processing algorithm designs
utilising multiple general-purpose
programmable architectures (GPUs
and CPUs) at the same time. Offthe-shelf workstations won’t cut it.
At the NAB Show Media Excel
demonstrated its prototype HERO
50000 HEVC software encoder
utilising the latest generation of Intel
Xeon E5 processors.
Ericsson unveiled its AVP 4000
encoder platform for the delivery
of TV services over all networks.
The unit is using Ericsson’s inhouse developed programmable
video processing chip, which
it said addresses multiple
applications, regardless of codec,
resolution or network.
Harmonic showed a demo of
both of its ProMedia Live realtime and ProMedia Xpress filebased transcoders using HEVC to
compress UltraHD (4K and higher)
content supporting a variety of
real world scenarios. The point
was to show that UltraHD can be
employed at bandwidths currently
used for HD, using HEVC technology
instead of AVC. UltraHD content
was compressed with HEVC at 3 to
7 Mbps using a Broadcom Ultra HD
HEVC chipset decoder. Alongside
this, a software decoder from NTT
Docomo was shown to demonstrate
Ultra HD HEVC decoding for the
multiscreen delivery market.
Fraunhofer HHI showed a new
real-time video compression H.265/
MPEG-HEVC engine, in software,
that it said it developed with leading
players in mobile technology and
consumer electronics. At NAB the
research institute’s exhibit booth
included a demonstration of HEVC
decoding of 4K content at 5 Mbps.
Fraunhofer HHI’s HEVC real-time
software decoder uses an advanced
multi-threaded architecture, which
the company says makes it very
efficient at low bit rates (with

low latency).
The Motorola Mobility division
of Motorola also showed HEVC
encoding and decoding – using a
Vanguard Video software encoder/
decoder at the NAB Show. The
stated goal was to highlight how
the compression efficiency of HEVC
facilitates the delivery of high-quality
video over bandwidth-constrained
networks to multiple platforms.
One demo focused on a real-time
HEVC encoder delivering streaming
content to a Google Nexus 10 tablet
for real-time decoding and playback.
A second demo showcased realtime HEVC HTTP live streaming to
an Apple iPad. A third featured an IP
set-top box decoding HEVC.
Rovi Corp. has launched a beta
test programme for its HEVC
implementation, in which some
50 companies are participating,
according to Rovi. The programme
allows participants to gain early
access to its MainConcept HEVC
SDK (version 9.7) and begin to test
and evaluate the new compression
standard. Rovi’s support for HEVC
is based on the DivX Video Service
– an end-to-end video solution
for high-quality multi-screen
video delivery that is designed to
integrate with and enhance TV
Everywhere and OTT entertainment
services. Building on core DivX
video technologies and DRM, as
well as MainConcept professional
encoders, DivX Video Service offers
components for managing the entire
video distribution chain.
While the talk of this year’s
NAB Show was 4K delivery, the
technology is not yet ready to deploy.
There’s too much legacy equipment
that continues to offer operators
“good enough” quality using AVC and
even previous generation MPEG-2
technology. That’s right, MPEG-2
still works well for most types of
HD content delivery – certainly to
TVs and the Internet.

There was also talk that several
content distributors will experiment
with HEVC compression at the
upcoming World Cup soccer
tournament in Brazil next summer.

Patent Standard
As mentioned, the industry has
yet to settle on a standard way of
H.265 coding, which apparently
is part of the ATSC 3.0 U.S.
broadcast specification now being
developed and planned for initial
deployments in 2016.
The Joint Collaborative Team on
Video Coding of the ITU-T Visual
Coding Experts Group and the
ISO/IEC Moving Pictures Experts
Group (MPEG) are working on it.
There is now a Recommendation
ITU-T H.265 being considered for
ratification.
Once a standard is established,
vendors will then build products to
support it. Satellite and fibre-based
contribution should benefit the most
in the short-term.
The consensus is that there’s still
a lot of improvement being made
to the MPEG compression platform,
so the delivery of HD, 4K and even
higher image quality content is
possible to support widespread
consumer consumption.
“We are now successfully encoding
HEVC in software in real-time, but it’s
not easy or cheap to do at this point,”
said Dustin Encelewski, Director of
Product Marketing at Elemental
Technologies, which has released
a whitepaper on HEVC/H.265.
“There’s also the issue of a lack of
a standard, so vendors are doing
it in software and hardware and
experimenting to find the right
solution that will work for customers.
At the end of the day, the technology
has to be configured in such a way
that makes it practical and costeffective to use. As an industry we’re
not there yet.”


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - May 2013

In Broadcast - May 2013
Contents
InNEWS: Eredivisie Live Kicks Off With Evs Systems
InNEWS: Nep Develops Arise Networks’ Ny News Centre
InREPLY: International Success for Atg Broadcast
InGEAR: Blackmagic Design Demos Production Camera 4k
InGEAR: Ensemble Designs’ Brighteye Nxt 430 Router
InAUDIO: Clear-Com’s Eclipse - Pico for Ktv
InSTUDIO: Cartoni Debuts Magnum & Jibo & Nabshow 2013
InMEDIA: Avid Live Shows at Dock 10 Post
InMEDIA: How Mam Meets the Challenges of Managing Sports Content
InFILE: Simplifying Alpha Network’s Ott and Iptv Delivery - Harmonic
In Broadcast - May 2013 - In Broadcast - May 2013
In Broadcast - May 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - May 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InNEWS: Eredivisie Live Kicks Off With Evs Systems
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InNEWS: Nep Develops Arise Networks’ Ny News Centre
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 22
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 24
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 26
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InREPLY: International Success for Atg Broadcast
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 32
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InGEAR: Blackmagic Design Demos Production Camera 4k
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InGEAR: Ensemble Designs’ Brighteye Nxt 430 Router
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 40
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 42
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 46
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InAUDIO: Clear-Com’s Eclipse - Pico for Ktv
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 48
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 49
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 50
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 51
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 52
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 53
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 54
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InSTUDIO: Cartoni Debuts Magnum & Jibo & Nabshow 2013
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 60
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InMEDIA: Avid Live Shows at Dock 10 Post
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 62
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InMEDIA: How Mam Meets the Challenges of Managing Sports Content
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 65
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 66
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 67
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 68
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 69
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 70
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 71
In Broadcast - May 2013 - InFILE: Simplifying Alpha Network’s Ott and Iptv Delivery - Harmonic
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 73
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 74
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 75
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 76
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 77
In Broadcast - May 2013 - 78
In Broadcast - May 2013 - Cover3
In Broadcast - May 2013 - Cover4
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