Video Pre-Processing Promises Bandwidth Boost
InterDigital and Vantrix are teaming up to increase bandwidth efficiency for multiscreen video delivery, promising bandwidth savings of 15% to 50% above improvements already derived from video compression technology. The enhancements come from InterDigital's PerceptFX solution, which has been in the market since 2014. However, setting a new milestone, Vantrix has just announced the integration of PerceptFX with its own open transcoding platform.
PerceptFX works by filtering raw video, isolating and removing bits of data that are invisible to the human eye. Because the eye can't perceive those bits anyway, InterDigital Inc. (Nasdaq: IDCC) says it can delete them without sacrificing video quality. PerceptFX isn't a full encoding solution, however. It only deals with perceptual pre-processing before handing the content off to an encoder.
"We're agnostic to the encoder, and to the codec itself," explains InterDigital Director of Product Management Bill Crean, but PerceptFX lowers the bitrate for a video stream, making the encoding process more efficient.
Vantrix Corp. has integrated the InterDigital solution as a plug-in to its Vantrix Media Platform. The platform is built on OpenStack with a component-based architecture for video transcoding and optimization and uses adaptive bitrate streaming for multiscreen delivery.
Montreal-based Vantrix has been around for a decade, but most of the company's history is in bandwidth optimization for mobile operators. Only recently has Vantrix specifically targeted over-the-top video transcoding.
One particular benefit to the new integrated solution is that it could help companies delay the shift to the new High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) codec.
"With the new HEVC licensing that's been announced, it gives another way of extending the life of h.264," says Vantrix Vice President of Marketing Steve Sklepowich. He's referring to the new pricing schedule announced by HEVC Advance, which could end up costing content providers a significant amount of money in licensing fees for the use of HEVC technology. If the pricing schedule stands, it could prove a great incentive for sticking with the h.264 codec as long as possible. (See HEVC Advance Could Hurt 4K TV Advancement.)
Even when providers make the shift to HEVC for ultra-high-definition (UHD) TV, the perceptual pre-processing technology will make video more bandwidth-efficient, and therefore cheaper to deliver.
According to Crean, several pay-TV and over-the-top operators are already evaluating the bandwidth-saving solution.
The integrated technology from Vantrix and InterDigital can be applied both to offline video, like video-on-demand content, and live broadcasts. The two companies will demonstrate the solution in a live transcoding environment at the upcoming CableLabs Summer Conference, and at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in September.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading