Video: How Do You Choose a Codec With Technology Always In Flux?

"What if we just hold out, because in a couple years..." Beamr's Mark Donnigan asks, raising the question that must at times occur to all providers of encoding services in a codec climate that's continuously in flux, trying to deliver the best quality, most bandwidth-efficient, and widely playable HD, HDR, and 4K video for both current and future consumers of video content. Deluxe's Jeremy Morrison, Fandango's Samir Ahmed, and Gogo's Prem Bangole explain how they're dealing with these issues today with an eye to future innovation.

Watch the complete panel from Streaming Media East 2017, Implementing Methods For Reducing Video Bitrates While Retaining Quality, on the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the transcript of this clip:

Mark Donnigan: What if we just hold out? Because in a couple of years, and I'm not even gonna to name the codec, but fill in the blank, it's gonna be here and that's gonna solve all of our problems. How do you handle this? The tension of, I have to operate a service today, but there are gonna be better technologies in the future?

Jeremy Morrison: We use it as one of our main selling points for why you go to a managed service provider like us 'cause tomorrow we'll implement the next technology and redo your library and it's gonna keep changing so often. We're seeing our customers really stay with AVC with their HD content and almost all of them are saying HEVC as we go into 4K, but we don't have a single person we're working with in direct streaming who's really looking at anything outside of those two options.

Samir Ahmed: We continue to do all of our HD and SD content in AVC and then everything else--all our 4K and HDR content--is now in HEVC. That's where you see the big economies, right, of that side. I think one of the things, back to Mark's question, was you can't just stop innovating. It's a really hard thing, if you stop, it's very hard to catch up. You fall behind in your workflow, you fall behind in the tools you're using, and you become complacent. Getting caught up, even if you miss a generation, it's very hard to catch up after that.

Prem Bangole: I think change is permanent. No matter what, there will be better codecs. There's a couple of ways to peel the orange, especially for Gogo. One is increasing the bandwidth of the playing, which we're working on. The second way is decreasing the bitrate by not compromising the quality. When you try to bring in the new codec, the challenge it puts on the computing platforms, which we have, I think some of them are trying out innovate them as well, so it's a challenge for them. It's just not a challenge for Gogo, who just is a service provider. This is a reason you gotta stay in it and try to beat the market.

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