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Evolution of HEVC in Media and Entertainment industry

HEVC

NEW YORK, USA: Reportlinker.com has declared that a new market research report is available in its catalogue, titled: Factors Influencing Growth of HEVC in the Media and Entertainment Industry.

High-efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is a new standard that has been developed to handle compression for the next generation of high-resolution and ubiquitous video applications.

While AVC is the de-facto standard for video across the board today, network congestion is already a looming issue. It will only get worse as the headcount of consumers and the amount of video accessed over broadband and wireless connections rises, even as Pay TV service providers seek to push resolution boundaries preceding high definition (HD) to 4K and beyond.

From the time when the standard was finalized early this year, industry shows and trade magazines have been packed with announcements of products, pilot services, proofs of concepts, and forward-looking predictions. Certainly, there have been significant steps forward in terms of encoding and transcoding products and cores supporting HEVC.

Codec vendors, such as ITTIAM, Fraunhofer, followed by NTT DoCoMo, Rovi, and Vanguard, are among those which are shipping first-generation encoding cores for HEVC compression. Most of these are presently software-based, although they may leverage silicon resources for acceleration. All-silicon encoder cores are in the offing to take at least a year to develop, given the complexity of HEVC encoding, the budding stage of the technology, as well as the ongoing flux in certain aspects of the standard.

In regard to encoder products, professional equipment vendors, such as ATEME, Ericsson and Envivio, as well as desktop vendors, such as Cyberlink, have developed their own H.265 cores. Elemental has successfully power-driven real time HEVC encoding for video in 4K resolution.

The density that can be reached for HEVC encoders is of course orders of magnitude lower than comparable AVC densities and its power consumption per channel is today much higher, but headway will continue to be made.

Sales in 2013 have been restricted to a few channels purchased by major service providers and content owners for internal evaluations and proofs of concept. Nevertheless, market interest is anticipated to continue growing en route 2014 and beyond.

Progress, on the decoder side has been less extensive than on the encoder side, although it is gaining impetus. Software-based clients have been shipped with select consumer electronic models, such as Samsung’s HEVC-enabled 4K television which shipped earlier this year and several upcoming devices powered by chipsets from Broadcom and Qualcomm.

Panasonic recently pronounced a licensing arrangement for HEVC-enabled Blu-ray chipsets with Rovi, although a release date for the product has not yet been announced. Open-source participant, VLC, recently stated support for HEVC. The open H.265 project has also won backing from vendors, such as Telestream.

The question facing service providers and consumer electronics (CE) device vendors is how quickly-or not-HEVC will evolve from an experimental newness to a commercially significantly format. In this insight, we scrutinize the innumerable dynamics that initiate and confine the adoption of HEVC. Our focus here is principally the media and entertainment market, which includes segments, such as contribution, primary and secondary distribution, and multi-screen, rather than enterprise applications of HEVC, such as video conferencing, for instance.

Aspects driving adoption of and investment in HEVC

Pursuit for Greater Compression Efficiency: Video accounts for bulk of the Internet traffic during prime time in the United States. With online video consumption projected to more than double over the next five years and bandwidth limitations cited as one of the most important restraints to growth concerning over the top (OTT) video, raising the bar on video compression is a hugely tempting proposition.

Other benefits of better compression comprise the ability to improve the quality of video that is delivered over restricted bandwidths (for instance HD video to tablets through 4G or 4G LTE networks), reduce video transmission costs, and increase video storage capability (for example on camcorders or professional video servers).

While the compression efficiency of AVC is growing, with modern, best-of-breed AVC encoders offering 2x compression benefits over first generation products, HEVC in due course will mature to a point where it can outperform AVC.

Technology Thrust for Commoditized Video Market: The market for video encoders is struggling, due to substantial price erosion triggered by commoditization. Where AVC HD encoders once sold at over USD per channel, today, growing density and silicon-based cores have pressed prices down, with some models selling for under $ per HD channel.

Additionally, differentiation between encoder vendors is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly outside the top tier of industry vendors. HEVC brings the opportunity for innovators to stand out and to distinguish themselves from other vendors again, while also reinstating a far more sustainable price point. For instance 4K

HEVC encoders are currently fetching as much $ per channel. This is expected to come down in 2014. Nonetheless, it is still significantly higher than existing AVC price points. This type of disruption also emboldens faster upgrades of equipment, further enhancing sales.

Cost savings in closed-loop applications: Closed loop applications are those where the encoding hardware, decoding applications, and intermediate servers and routers are all provided by a single company and purchased by a single client. These occur most often in the enterprise segment-for illustration, in unified communication systems or remote collaboration systems.

HEVC delivers clear return on investment (ROI) by improving operating expenditure (OPEX) and quality of experience. Closed loop systems are also seen in several white-label video on demand (VOD) platforms that provide transcoding, transmission, and playback of content. In these cases, investment from vendors into HEVC is quickening and is expected to attain faster uptake by enterprise clients and service providers.

The following stands tall as the most important drivers for HEVC technology:

Growing resolutions, even on portable devices: As portable devices reading in the order of tablets and high end smart phones, achieve HD display resolutions and as fixed screens migrate gradually towards 2K and 4K resolutions, consumers’ demands for visually appealing video is swelling. There is a growing prerequisite to bring the highest possible video quality to consumers-both in terms of resolution and in terms of velvetiness of delivery-to capitalize on the competitive advantage for service providers.

Superior compression is critical to achieving this scenario, chiefly on portable devices over wireless connections. While benefits would theoretically be immediate, it will take time for the end-to-end workflow for these use cases to be available and arrayed. In view of this development it’s important to note that – while the prospect of high-resolution delivery to portable devices is stimulating innovation in HEVC, it will take – years before the market is ripe enough to upkeep widespread deployment for these use cases.

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Jawed Akhtar

A Journalist by interest and a Music Enthusiast by passion. Wedded to Mother Nature, Jawed indulges his aesthetics in travelling and reading books of varied genres. Having covered News stories for top Dailies in his formative years, that is, he is game for tryst with Technology at Techmagnifier.

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