▼ Scroll to Site ▼

Video: What's the Best Codec for 4K Compression and Delivery?

In this excerpt from his presentation at Streaming Media West, Twitch's Tarek Amara discusses the current crop of codecs for live streaming and VOD and the comparative compression efficiencies of each.

Learn more about Streaming Media conferences.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Tarek Amara: With H.264--based on some experimentation I've done myself--to achieve good quality and deliver Ultra HD on reasonable, medium-motion content, you're not going to go below 40 megabits per second. That's not something we can consider today.

On top of the codec itself, there is the delivery mechanism or the packaging mechanism. Today, the main two-way VR mechanisms are HLS and DASH. There might be others as we go, because the Alliance for Open Media is thinking of developing their own. I am not sure there are iOS devices, today, capable of 4K display. Probably someone might think, "OK, 4K is mainly for big screens." Some of you have attended the keynotes where the presenter said that 80% more content is displayed on TVs. That is good news for people who want really to go and broadcast their 4K content because they know it is for TV and there are lots of 4K TVs, which is the main 4K screen available today.

For example, I am not aware of any mobile device that can do 4K, and probably it is not worth it. From an experience point of view, to watch good 4K and enjoy the experience, you need to be at specific distance from the screen and the screen must be more than 40”. It is really shifting the direction of the market.

DASH is there. Besides, HLS today supports only H.264. It does not support HEVC or VP9. All though it is not a big deal, I know our colleagues at Amazon have done an experiment where they replaced the H.264 stream with an HEVC stream and they have done an A-to-Z, end-to-end test and it did work fine.

For VOD, the transcoding is simple. That is why we have seen VOD applications and VOD streams coming to market first, starting with Netflix. Amazon is doing 4K as well. For VOD, it is easier because you can transcode many times, you can do it offline. In addition, most VOD content is movies and it is 24 frames per second.

For live, the story is slightly different, especially for those who like to broadcast sports. They need to use real-time encoders, which are less efficient than non-real-time encoders. They have to do it only once. There is not much for them to enjoy really. That is why the bitrate ratio between the VOD application and the live application are slightly different.

 

Streaming Covers
Free
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Video: How to Assess and Compare the Value of Next-Gen Codecs

Bitmovin Solutions Architect Paul MacDougall assesses and compares current and emerging codecs based on several criteria in this clip from his presentation at Streaming Media East.

Video: What is the Current State of Browser Support for Next-Gen Codecs?

Bitmovin Solutions Architect Paul MacDougall discusses current browser support and market share for emerging codecs such as HEVC and VP9 in this clip from his presentation at Streaming Media East.

Video: How to Manage New Playback Challenges Associated with Next-Gen Codecs

Bitmovin Solutions Architect Paul MacDougall outlines the playback challenges associated with emerging codecs in this clip from his presentation at Streaming Media East.

Video: Encoding Challenges with Next-Gen Codecs

Bitmovin Solutions Architect Paul MacDougall discusses the challenges to encoding and encoding decisions presented by emerging codecs in this clip from his presentation at Streaming Media East.

Video: The Problem With Streaming 4K Today

Limelight Networks' Charles Kraus describes the obstacles to real-world 4K delivery while the industry pushes 4K screens everywhere, in this clip from Streaming Media East 2017.

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

Beamr's Mark Donnigan, Deluxe's Jeremy Morrison, Fandango's Samir Ahmed, and Gogo's Prem Bangole discuss the challenges of providing encoding services for HD, HDR, and 4K as the codec landscape continues to shift and evolve.

Video: Is 4K Quality Worth the Higher Data Rate?

Twitch Video Systems Engineer Tarek Amara discusses the pros and cons of transitioning to 4K streaming, and underscores the heightened importance of high-quality compression in delivering a successful 4K experience.

Video: Is HLS or DASH the Next Video Delivery Standard?

Viacom's Jeff Tapper, Comcast's Rustam Khashimkhodjaev, Akamai's Will Law, and Microsoft's Araj Sodogar discuss the pros and cons of HLS as the next industry-standard video-delivery protocol in this clip from Streaming Media West 2016.