Net Insight and the evolution of video compression and lossless video compression
In a world where best-effort is the norm, we created the Nimbra to enable ultra-reliable broadcast grade long-distance media networking across any infrastructure.
There are several different video compression algorithms/formats/standards/codecs, but the basic concepts remain the same. They will either deliver better image quality at the same compressed bitrate or a lower compressed bitrate for the same image quality.
Most codecs use “lossy” video compression techniques and methods, which means that when a video is compressed, some redundant spatial and temporal information is reduced. Lossy typically means compression ratios of 50:1 up to 100:1. In this case, the compression becomes visible but remains perfectly adequate for some applications.
Visually “lossless” video compression is sometimes used when the goal is to reduce file and stream sizes by only a slight amount in order to keep picture quality identical to the original source. Lossless video compression typically achieves lower compression ratios of 10:1 to 20:1.
A particular advantage to the more recent video compression technologies is that they do not suffer the problem of quality loss through propagation. Earlier technologies, such as MPEG, do propagate and become less dependable when many encoding cycles occur.
Network capacity today is not yet limitless and ubiquitous. The global picture remains highly varied in terms of access to high-speed internet and mobile networks. Although investment in, and implementation of, new networks is intensifying, it is likely to be many years yet before fast and robust connectivity is achieved on a global level. Consequently, there is an ongoing need to adapt and process content in order to complement different network types, with the implication that different solutions will be employed for different scenarios.
The need for different networks depends very much on the use case: Production, Contribution, or Distribution.
Video compression formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XS, and emerging codecs like MPEG-I Part 3 H.266 (also known as Versatile Video Coding/VVC) can extend the network capacity to manage 4K UHD and 8K UHD streams over IP – all while keeping latency ultra-low and maintaining a visually lossless video compression quality.
Media networking needs to adapt to different scenarios like high/low latency, high/low bandwidth (equating to low/high cost), reliable/unreliable networks, and whether the production is high-end (Tier 1) or at the lower end (Tier 3).
Unmanaged networks (internet) with the public cloud can transport and process in high quality with higher latency and lower bandwidth, which serves contribution and distribution markets well on the basis that you have the appropriate media transport and video compression technology and systems in place.
Some production environments can accept higher latency, shifting the transport to cloud-based infrastructure and using Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) transport – which is an error control mechanism for achieving reliable transmission of data over an unreliable link – over the public Internet or unmanaged IP. We believe it is beneficial if this can be done in one system with easy, uniform management.
As cloud production becomes an integral part of broadcasters’ live workflows, the corresponding cloud infrastructure becomes an integral part of the media transport network.
Welcome to the second edition of Open Insight, where I will share thoughts and updates with our shareholders, other stakeholders and anyone with a general interest in the company.
Video compression is the process of converting digital video into a format that takes up less capacity when it is stored or transmitted. Video compression formats (in the form of an algorithm) do this by shrinking the total number of bits needed to represent a given image or video sequence.
Until network bandwidth is increased dramatically and ubiquitously to carry large volumes of uncompressed video there will be a need for video compression. The aim of compression is to maximise quality and efficiency while minimising cost.