Network Video Encoding and Video Decoding

The importance of Video Encoding and Video Decoding in the media industry

Video encoding and video decoding is an essential component of modern media workflows. Video compression algorithms reduce the raw content data to optimize bandwidth and, ultimately, cost while preserving signal integrity. The trade-off between bandwidth cost and the latency and quality of the source is a critical decision in every digital media workflow.

At a time when the industry is migrating from SDI to IP and seeking to implement innovative remote production models, the need for video encoding and video decoding has never been greater. Bandwidth utilisation is one of the industry’s biggest challenges. In live production, remote collaboration or in any form of bidirectional time-accurate broadcasting, the slightest latency is unacceptable. Fortunately, the industry has embraced the challenge.

As broadcasters and video service providers look to exploit IP networks for transporting high-quality video signals they can partner with experts to build workflows of the highest quality using the most robust and lossless video compression techniques available.

Why choose JPEG-XS

JPEG XS (ISO/IEC 21122) is a direct replacement for uncompressed video workflows and introduces significant network bandwidth and media processing savings to production facilities and wide-area networks (WANs). This contemporary and widely-implemented video codec achieves visually lossless image quality at microsecond-level latency. JPEG XS scales effortlessly for SDI or IP format video and is an obvious choice for HD, UHD-4K and UHD-8K content production over the wide-area network. An efficient power and processing footprint makes further makes JPEG XS highly suited for bandwidth-efficient campus and facility networks (LANs).

The suite of standardization work around JPEG XS, in particular VSF TR-07, is of particular importance when there is a lack of control over PTP time accuracy. The combination of JPEG XS and VSF TR-07 allows for production networks to effortlessly extend over the WAN without PTP Time Error performance.

As JPEG XS processing can be implemented in general purpose compute, i.e. CPU as well as special purpose compute such as GPU and FPGA, there is already an established ecosystem of scalable JPEG XS processing applications with ready-made essence, composite and aggregate standard exchange formats, i.e. VSF TR-08, TR-07 and TR-09 respectively.

The ability of JPEG XS to operate and be exchanged across LAN, WAN and Cloud, whether that is PTP-timed or Transport Streams adapted makes it a breakthrough in flexibility for video compression standards. This orchestration or new technologies and operational insights is fundamental to efficiently delivering video with no delay or quality compromise. In essence, JPEG XS allows production networks and remotely produced events to do ten times more with existing resources.

Why choose JPEG 2000

For latency-critical applications such as remote production and contribution the industry’s choice is JPEG 2000 (J2K). A robust and mature standard deployed by professional broadcast service providers, J2K delivers world class quality-to-bandwidth ratio.

The coding system uses intra-frame compression techniques based on wavelet technology and offers an extremely high level of scalability, accessibility and interoperability with third party equipment.

Visually lossless SD, HD and UHD JPEG 2000 encoding and decoding reduces bandwidth usage by 90% compared to uncompressed transport. Audio and ancillary data transparency combined with TR-01 compliance allows the compression scheme to be used in any type of workflow and multi-vendor deployments.

The Net Insight Nimbra implementation of JPEG 2000, combined with our advanced protection mechanisms, enables broadcasters to use cost-efficient IP links for the real-time transport of professional media.

J2K is perfectly suitable for live video, including fast moving sports content. With low bandwidth utilization, combined with high quality and availability, it can fit easily into a cost-effective managed IP transport available anywhere in the world.

Why choose MPEG-4 / H.264 / AVC (Advanced Video Coding)

H.264, also known as MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), is the most world’s widely used video compression standard for HD content with billions of devices capable of supporting it.

Production or distribution quality SD and HD MPEG AVC H.264 encoding and video decoding delivers optimal image quality, reduced bandwidth usage and maximum workflow interoperability. Net Insight’s implementation offers 4:2:0 8-bit support and flexible parallel encoding and video decoding capability in combination with industry-leading internet transport reliability.

Although standardized as far back as 2003, its forward-looking design, has seen MPEG-4 H.264 become the preferred compression standard for streaming video services. Compliance with SMPTE ST 2022-2 allows for IP interoperable content exchange and multi-vendor deployments.

MPEG-4 is ideal for all bandwidth-efficient high-quality video workflows.

How Nimbra and Aperi Manage Compression

Net Insight incorporates advanced video encoding in the heart of both the Aperi and the Nimbra platforms. The encoding schemes used are JPEG2000, H.264/MPEG-4, JPEG XS, and H.265/HEVC. Any of these options can be handled by Net Insight giving productions the flexibility needed to cater for any scenario.

Both platforms also support uncompressed transport including 1080p and 4K. Net Insight focuses on open standards as SMPTE 2110 for interoperability reasons. This also means that it is possible to combine uncompressed/light compression with other compression formats in the same system to allow for more advanced and potentially more cost-efficient workflows interconnecting production processing sites.

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Net Insight solution for FSS and the World’s First VAR Sports Arena in Serbia

Cloud Contribution and Distribution Network | Net Insight

Background

In the countries of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia one of the major paid network providers is Arena Sport, which is part of the biggest telecommunication company in the region called Telekom Srbija.

Cloud Contribution and Distribution | Net Insight

The challenge

Arena Sport wanted to shift from a traditional satellite link approach to a more sustainable and future safe solution. It was also looking at the cost efficiency and positive ROI on the broadcast expansion.

Low latency | Cloud Contribution and Distribution | Net Insight

The solution

“We needed a solution to run this complex operation from a single location with minimum staff and yet retain the absolute reliability and high quality level that live sport broadcast requires.”

Advanced Analytics | Cloud Contribution and Distribution | Net Insight

The result

Together with Net Insight, Arena Sport was able to merge the potential of VAR and the solutions for video encoding and video decoding in a perfect match. The collaboration between the companies for above solution, inspite of the ongoing pandemic worked out very well.

“We are covering several countries and run many sports channels in each of them. Deploying a separate playout centre in each country would be highly expensive and not profitable for us. We had to have a solution which allowed us to have centralised management and easy expansion.”
Darko Petrovic, COO, Arena Sport

Want to know more about Network Video Encoding and Video Decoding?

Video content in its raw format consumes enormous amounts of data bandwidth. To make video network transport viable, one can process the data stream using a video encoder to minimize the bandwidth used by the video stream.
This encoding process inserts latency as well as lowers the quality of video content depending on what encoding format/codec is used. A
network video encoder is simply another way to refer to a video encoder, where “network” refers to its capabilities in enabling transmission of videos over a network.

A video encoder compresses a video stream. The compression process lowers the bandwidth needed for a live video stream.

The network bandwidth requirement and thus its cost, goes down, however the cost is a higher transmission latency goes up and the video stream quality goes down.

Yes they are. These are the alternative names of the AVC (Advanced Video Coding) video compression standard. MPEG-4 is the ISO/IEC JTC1 Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) name of the AVC standard, and H.264 is the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group name of the joint network encoding and standard.

It is by far the most commonly used format for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content.

An H.264 video encoder is an application to compress (video encoding) video streams using the AVC/MPEG-4/H.264 video compression standard.
This application can e.g. reside in an hardware accelerated appliance or in an virtual cloud instance as a software
network video encoder

JPEG XS (ISO/IEC 21122) is an interoperable, visually lossless, ultra low-latency and lightweight image and video coding system that targets professional compression within any video application.

Usually the latency is counted in a few milliseconds (compared with MPEG-4 that usually have 1 second), however, it is only compressing to a ratio of 1:10 and 1:6, whereas MPEG-4 can reach 1:100.

JPEG 2000 (J2k) is a low-latency and high-quality image compression standard and coding system.

Usually the latency is counted in at 80 milliseconds (compared with MPEG-4 that usually have 1 second), however, it is only compressing to a ratio of 1:10 and 1:15, whereas MPEG-4 can reach 1:100.

JPEG XS is a new intra-frame compression standard delivering JPEG 2000 quality with 100x lower latency – a few milliseconds instead of 80-100 milliseconds. The compression ratio varies from 6:1  to 10:1 with very low and fixed latency, which makes it ideal for remote production of live events.

High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2, is a video compression standard designed as a successor to the widely used Advanced Video Coding (AVC, H.264, or MPEG-4 Part 10).
HEVC is a very bandwidth-efficient compression coding standard and is considered to give 35-50% better efficiency compared to Advanced Video Coding. HEVC encoding has a drawback as it requires double the amount of license fees paid to IPR owners compared to AVC.

It depends on the purpose of the encoding technique (codec) to determine which one is the best. Here are some examples:
– AVC/MPEG-4/H.264 video compression  – The most widely spread distribution codec but with relatively high processing latency
– HEVC/H.265 video compression – 25-50% better efficiency than AVC but with a higher licensing cost
JPEG 2000 – High quality, low latency with moderate compression ratio often used in remote/distributed production

JPEG XS – High quality, ultra low latency (<3ms) with moderate compression, used as reduction of uncompressed bandwidth in production environments