A description of HLS encoding workflow at Dropbox.
The launch of the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability was announced today by its sponsors, the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM), American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), and Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is participating as an observer.
Bringing together manufacturers, broadcasters, advertisers, ad agencies, and industry organizations (standards bodies and trade associations) serving the professional media market, the Task Force has an ultimate goal to create greater efficiencies and cost savings for exchange of file-based content.
The group’s initial focus will be to gather and analyze requirements for a machine-generated and readable file interchange and delivery specification — including standardized and common structured metadata — for the professional media industry. Use case examples include promo, spot, and program delivery from a provider to a broadcaster.
In one of its initial actions, the task force has published a survey designed to collect data on user requirements. Open to any member of the media industry, the survey asks participants to create a one-sentence “user story” by identifying the nature of their work, the specific function they seek, and the business value that would be provided by that function.
Other task force activities will include the collection of data on existing products for transcode, transform, and file QC, and their ability to be driven by data from UML, XML, API, script, and other machine-to-machine communication mechanisms.
In addition to analyzing and publishing this data within a formal report, the task force will analyze the data in terms of current, planned, and unplanned standards activities and publish recommendations for future activities.
The EBU has published a new specification for the distribution of subtitles: EBU-TT-D (Tech 3380). The XML based EBU-TT-D format is a low-complexity way to combine subtitle text, styling, timing information, and positioning details to allow implementers to provide users with a subtitle experience at least as good as that on current TVs, regardless of the platform on which they are watching the content.
EBU-TT-D was developed in less than a year, by taking into account expertise from users, distribution parties, hybrid TV organizations and CE manufacturers. The work built on the EBU XML Subtitles group’s knowledge gained when creating the EBU-TT (EBU Tech 3350) subtitle format for production interchange and archiving.
The specification is derived from the base W3C TTML specification. It strongly constrains the feature set of TTML to make it easier for decoder/renderer implementers to add subtitle overlays to video without the complexity that is present in TTML to support other scenarios.
Work is in progress in HbbTV and DVB to reference EBU-TT-D within the upcoming HbbTV 2.0 and DVB DASH standards. The EBU has also published the first carriage specification document for EBU-TT-D, EBU Tech 3381 v0.9, which defines how to carry EBU-TT-D in ISO BMFF, itself a necessary step for distributing EBU-TT-D via DASH. This builds on work done by MPEG, not yet published in international standard form.
Friday, January 31, 2014
An interesting white paper by ATEME about interlacing support in HEVC.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This work presents a performance comparison of the two latest video coding standards H.264/MPEG-AVC and H.265/MPEG-HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) as well as the recently published proprietary video coding scheme VP9.
According to the experimental results, which were obtained for a whole test set of video sequences by using similar encoding configurations for all three examined representative encoders, H.265/MPEG-HEVC provides significant average bit-rate savings of 43.3% and 39.3% relative to VP9 and H.264/MPEG-AVC, respectively.
As a particular aspect of the conducted experiments, it turned out that the VP9 encoder produces an average bit-rate overhead of 8.4% at the same objective quality, when compared to an open H.264/MPEG-AVC encoder implementation – the x264 encoder. On the other hand, the typical encoding times of the VP9 encoder are more than 100 times higher than those measured for the x264 encoder.
When compared to the full-fledged H.265/MPEG-HEVC reference software encoder implementation, the VP9 encoding times are lower by a factor of 7.35, on average.
This article discusses the current state of online video, delves into the DASH standard, explores the challenges of building a DASH player, and, finally, walks through the basics of implementing the open source Dash.js player.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Labels: MPEG DASH
An interesting white paper by David Austerberry.
An interesting guide about x265, an open source HEVC implementation.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Quiptel, a five-year-old start-up company, claims it has an online media platform that improves the user experience of streaming audio and video while making more efficient use of available network bandwidth. It is a bold claim, which acting chief executive Richard Baker tested at a low key launch in a London hotel.
Invited media and analysts were shown multiple high-definition streams over a modest broadband connection. It appeared to work well in the demonstration, with rapid media start up a notable feature, said to be three to six times faster than conventional online video approaches, although they had problems earlier in the day when the hotel apparently lost its network access.
The patented technology appears to be based on using multiple logical network routes and a network overlay that intelligently manages traffic to optimise use of available access network bandwidth.
The result, Quiptel claims, is that more of the available network capacity is used to deliver sound and pictures, while operators can serve more customers with equivalent infrastructure.
Quiptel says its approach means an operator can deliver up to 30% more streams than HTTP Live Streaming for the same capacity. Some of the claims are documented in a detailed technical white paper that benchmarks QMP QFlow against Apple HLS. It says that HLS involves more overhead bandwidth above the bitrate for the audio and video.
However, given the increasing capacity of connections and falling connectivity costs, the assumed savings may be less significant than potential improvements to quality of service, particularly over constrained connections or in congested network conditions.
That concept of adaptive bitrate streaming has been around since the turn of the century. Many online video services currently use adaptive bitrate streaming, which breaks files into chunks and allows the player to change stream quality dynamically to maintain continuity in changing network conditions
What Quiptel appears to be doing is adding multipath connections to optimise delivery over diverse network routes.
It is an approach that is familiar to informitv from its groundbreaking work with Livestation, a pioneer of live peer to peer streaming.
In principle it can provide more robust delivery in changing network conditions. In theory that is inherent in internet protocols, but so-called overlay networks can add more intelligent routing that can optimise distribution dynamically.
One of the challenges is that requires more intelligence to be built into the player application. Quiptel has clients for multiple operating systems including personal computers and iOS or Android devices and they can also be embedded in smart televisions, set-top boxes or media players. Quiptel showed an end-to-end system using an Android set-top box.
Quiptel is aiming to offer QMP, the Quiptel Media Platform, to service providers on a white label basis or as a licensed technology.
The company is based in Hong Kong. The founder is Peter Do, who previously worked with voice over internet protocol systems. Just as VOIP services, of which Skype, now owned by Microsoft is the best known, have disrupted traditional telephony by enabling audio and video over broadband networks, so Quiptel hopes to allow a premium media experience over either managed or unmanaged networks.
“It provides a greater than 50% capex and opex saving for service providers over traditional IPTV systems, enabling a quicker time to market while expressly focusing on quality of service video delivery.” he said.
QMP includes various components, known as QFlow, QNav and QRouter, based on patented core technologies and intelligent network optimising traffic management specifically designed for delivering high quality video across managed and unmanaged mobile and broadband networks across multiple devices.
Quiptel faces a challenge in deploying its approach with service providers that have already made technology choices but could provide an advantage to those looking to roll out new services.
Monday, November 04, 2013
An interesting article by Nicolas Weil.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Labels: MPEG DASH
The EBU has published the first release of its QC Criteria (EBU Tech 3363) developed by its Strategic Programme on Quality Control. EBU Tech 3363 is a large collection of QC checks that can be applied to file-based audiovisual content.
Examples include the detection of visual test patterns, loudness level compliance checks, colour gamut verification, looking for image sequences that may trigger epileptic seizures, etc. This collection of QC tests can be seen as a 'shopping list' which media professionals can use to, for example, create their own delivery specifications or establish test protocols for archive transfer projects.
Each QC Criterion in the list features a definition, references, tolerances, and an example, to help users reproduce the same tests with potentially different equipment (e.g. think of a broadcaster who receives material from a wide range of post production houses). Obviously such information can get quite technically detailed.
That is why the EBU group decided to present the overview of QC Criteria in a tabular format, similar to the well-known Periodic Table of chemical elements. Several characteristics support this metaphor, including the concept of specifying the tests as 'atomically' as possible, the fact that some tests posess (much) more complex properties than others and the idea of categorizing them into groups with similar characteristics.
For the EBU QC Criteria these are: audio, video, format/bitstream and metadata/other.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Labels: Quality Control
We are on the verge of an important inflection point for the Web. In the next few years commercial web video delivery utilizing new, international standards (DASH Media Ecosystem) will become commonplace. These standards will enable cross-platform, interoperable media applications and will transform the media entertainment industry, delight consumers and expand the nature of the Web.
Although all of the standards outlined below are necessary, the most significant change was the introduction of interoperable digital rights management technologies which enable the distribution of digital media on the open web while respecting the rights of content producers.
Download the white paper
Via Video Breakthroughs
This white paper has been commissioned by the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) to provide an assessment of the applicability of cloud technology and services to broadcast processes and key media business areas.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Labels: Cloud Media Services
This report provides an overview of image and audio technology standards and requirements for UHDTV production in the professional broadcast domain. This report represents a SMPTE study primarily focused on real time broadcasting and distribution and is therefore not an exhaustive analysis of UHDTV1 and UHDTV2.
Click here for the report
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Version 2.0 of the DASH-AVC/264 guidelines, with support for 1080p video and multichannel audio, is now publicly available on the DASH Industry Forum (IF) website.
The new guidelines includes several promised extensions, including one on HD video that moves the recommended baseline from 720p to 1080p.
720p had initially been chosen, according to the initial guidelines released in May, as a "tradeoff between content availability, support in existing devices and compression efficiency." At that time, the baseline video support used the Progressive High Profile Level 3.1 decoder and supported up to 1280x720p at 30 fps.
"The choice for HD extensions up to 1920x1080p and 30 fps is H.264 (AVC) Progressive 12 High Profile Level 4.0 decoder," the new guidelines state, adding support for 4.0 decoders that was lacking in the previous set of guidelines.
In addition, the guidelines also provide a way to handle standard definition (SD) content.
"It is recognized that certain clients may only be capable to operate with H.264/AVC Main Profile," the guidelines state. "Therefore content authors may provide and signal a specific subset of DASH-AVC/264 by providing a dedicated interoperability identifier referring to a standard definition presentation. This interoperability point is defined as DASH-AVC/264 SD."
The new guidelines also cover several multichannel audio options.
"The baseline 1.0 version of DASH-AVC/264 only required support for HE-AACv2 stereo," says Will Law, secretary of DASH IF and Chairman of its Promotions Working Group. "Version 2.0 introduces multichannel Dolby, DTS and also Fraunhofer profiles."
Law also says that there will be a number of DASH-AVC demonstrations around the at IBC at Amsterdam's RAI Convention Centre on September 12, 2013. "These demonstrations will show the latest advancements in the DASH workflow, from encoding, through delivery and playback, including 4K video, HEVC and multichannel audio," says Law. "You'll also see HbbTV and multi-screen applications as well as solutions for DASH use in the broadcast world."
These demonstrations will occur at various booths, including Akamai—the company where Law works as a Principal Architect for Media—Ericsson, Haivision, Microsfot, Nagra, and a host of others.
The official version will be launched soon at the DASH IF site but until then the Digital Primates demo can be found on their site. The demo requires Chrome or Internet Explorer 11 (IE); PlayReady DRM playback is currently only available with IE for this demo.
As the DASH IF points out, DASH-AVC/264 "does not intend to specify a full end-to-end DRM system" but it does provide a framework for multiple DRMs to protect DASH content. The guidelines allow the additional of "instructions or Protection System Specific, proprietary information in predetermined locations to DASH content" that has previously been encrypted with what's generally known as the Common Encryption Scheme (ISO/IEC 23001-7).
By Tim Siglin, StreamingMedia
Telestream has announced the public availability of an open source H.265 (HEVC) encoder. The new project aims to create the world’s most efficient, highest quality H.265 codec.
The iniative is being introduced under both an open source and commercial license model and is being managed by co-founder MulticoreWare Inc, Telestream’s development partner.
“Telestream and MulticoreWare have had great success in the acceleration and commercial deployment of x264 and believe that a similar approach with the collaborative development of the next generation of high-efficiency codecs will benefit the industry,” commented Shawn Carnahan, CTO at Telestream. “The x264 project proved the effectiveness of developing a codec of this complexity. Leveraging the x264 technology in this new project will ensure that the new codec is as robust, efficient and high quality as its predecessor.”
Jason Garrett-Glaser, lead developer of the x264 project added: "Previous collaboration between Telestream and MulticoreWare led to successful work on the GPU acceleration of x264, a task deemed by many to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. With these accomplishments in mind, I am excited to support Telestream in the founding of the x265 project, which follows in the x264 tradition of high performance, quality, and flexibility under an open source license and business model."
Access is free under GNU LGPL licensing, and commercial licenses are available for companies wishing to use the resulting implementation in their products. More information can be found at x265.org, where companies and individuals can contribute to the project.
SCRATCH Play supports a wide range of media formats. From cinematic RAW files (RED, Arri, Sony, Canon, Phantom, etc) to DSLR RAW files (Canon 5D, Nikon N600, etc) to editorial formats (MXF, WAV, etc) to pro VFX/still formats (DPX, EXR, etc). Even web-based media (QuickTime, Windows Media, MP4, H.264, etc) and still image formats (TIFF, JPG, PNG, etc).
SCRATCH Play features powerful color-correction tools that let you set looks on-set, and generate LUTs, CDLs or JPEG snapshots. This is the same color technology found in SCRATCH - ASSIMILATE’s world-class professional color-grading application.
SCRATCH Play is not just any media player. Sure, it plays virtually anything, but it also supports features only found in professional applications including camera metadata display, clip framing, rotating and resizing.
Download the FREE version:
For Mac OS X
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Labels: Media Players
A confluence of technologies, evolving business models and changing consumer lifestyles are converging to propel the rise of online video and fundamentally transform TV, advertising and content delivery methods.
Here are the online video ecosystem segments and companies that are giving rise to this transformation.
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Labels: OTT TV