The Advanced Codec Transition and What It Means
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David Zhou: Video streaming dominates internet usage. The legacy of internet video was video on-demand. Mobile social video and live streaming have been expanding for quite a few years. Interactive video streaming, including cloud gaming, cloud desktop, and the AR/VR applications like 360 video live streaming for sports and events have started to grow rapidly in recent years. Video encoding capability is critical to all these applications. VOD needs the pre-encoding before distribution. Live streaming and interactive video need realtime encoding. A large amount of this video content requires scalable high-density, energy-efficient, and low-cost video encoding solutions. Highly interactive applications like cloud gaming, cloud virtual desktop, and AR/VR demand ultra-low-latency encoding. And video resolution is becoming ever higher, towards 4k and 8K.
So, especially with AR and VR looming on the horizon, video encoding is migrating from 18-year-old AVC towards newer standards, such as HEVC and AV1. The migration from AVC to HEVC is accelerating. Overall, HEVC and AV1 are much more efficient encoding high-resolution pictures from 720p to 8K. HEVC is known to bring about a 40% bandwidth reduction compared with AVC when you're encoding this high-resolution content.
In the past, the migration from AVC to HEVC had been very slow because of HEVC patent-related concerns. Nowadays, however, we are seeing the acceleration of the transition from AVC to HEVC. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and many more are adopters of HEVC. Actually, all new cellphones support hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding and therefore get rid of the battery and heat issues that are involved with software HEVC decoding.
AV1 support is also expanding very quickly. What this means is that cloud and edge data centers need to ramp up their HEVC and AV1 encoding capability.
Beamr's Dror Gill makes the case for widespread HEVC implementation now.