By Ben Schwarz
Mid-June, we picked up the news that MX Player had become the first OTT platform to deploy H.266, cutting video streaming data consumption in half.
In the article, Karan Bedi, CEO of India’s MX Player and MX TakaTak, said, “Video consumption dominates internet usage wherever you go across India, but the quality of experience deteriorates in areas with inconsistent data networks. The new standard is an opportunity for MX Player to give millions of users, regardless of where they are. This exceptional streaming experience allows them to consume content the way content creators intended: faster loading, buffering-free, and true-to-life HD quality.”
It should be noted that MX TakaTak does NOT plan to use VVC to launch an 8K service, but is one of the first to implement to realize the bandwidth and storage savings VVC offers for lower resolution content. Since bandwidth requirements are often cited as an obstacle to 8K adoption, any adoption of VVC will help with 8K adoption at some point. Indeed in another lead story this week, we discuss b<>com’s ongoing testing to confirm if H.266, a.k.a VVC, will indeed lower bandwidth requirements for 8K by 40% to 50%.
We asked Mainconcept’s Thomas Kramer what this first use of VVC in India might mean for our 8K ecosystem. MainConcept is a thirty-year-old video and audio codecs provider to the production, streaming, and broadcast industries.
First, we asked Thomas how service providers could start using VVC before the ink is dry on the licensing terms. He told us that “there are reference and open-source implementations available that can be used today, most notably are vvenc and vvdec from Fraunhofer HHI. These are often used as a start for own implementations. However, MainConcept does not do this as we base our implementations on our own codec core.”
Kramer acknowledged the risk of launching a service without licensing terms being fully defined but told us that it’s pretty common to go this way. “So, companies like MX Player will put a reasonable amount of money aside for future royalty payments, calculated roughly from previous codec standards costs. And license pools are, of course, very interested in early adoptions like this, so they won’t suddenly charge an unfair price.”
When we pushed him on 8K, we were encouraged when Thomas went on to state that “Access Advance, one of the patent pools behind HEVC now includes profiles up to 8K. This inclusion is excellent by itself, but VVC will use Access Advance as the licensing platform with many of the same patent holders. A single license for both HEVC and VVC codecs is a great sign and will help 8K adoption significantly.”
Here at the 8K Monitor, we take inspiration in this great story about how massive improvements in compression help extend existing HD video-based services coverage. Indeed, the same technology roadmap will also make 8K streaming require half as much bandwidth, significantly speeding up the arrival of commercially viable 8K streaming services.