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August 10, 2022

Live VVC 8K Encoding at 40 Mbps to be Demoed by Spin Digital at IBC 2022

Now part of DVB’s toolbox, the VVC codec has been successfully used for file-based applications for a while, as we’ve reported here, for example. On August 2nd, when the 8K Monitor was on vacation, Spin Digital announced the availability of the first version of a real-time VVC/H.266 encoder designed for live UHD (4K and 8K) streaming and broadcasting applications. So, we’re bringing the news to you in today’s issue. Alongside the press release, Spin Digital released a white paper called “A VVC/H.266 Real-time Software Encoder for UHD Live Video Applications”.

Here’s a chart putting VVC’s capabilities in context for the geeks amongst our readers. It shows how the next generation codec offers the path for further compression gains when a video codec reaches diminishing returns.

Figure 1 from the White Paper: Video codecs (AVC, HEVC, AV1, and VVC) compression efficiency capabilities and complexity for 4Kp60, 10-bit, 4:2:0, single pass encoding.

Here are the four main points from the 50-page document for 8K Monitor readers in a hurry.

Compression efficiency vs. state-of-the-art HEVC live encoders.

For 4K60p, an 18% bitrate savings can be achieved for the same quality for a highly optimized HEVC real-time encoder at the cost of 2 times higher computational complexity. More interestingly, for our readers, the initial 8Kp60 video results show the new VVC encoder achieving a 26% bitrate savings at equal quality relative to the HEVC live encoder with only 1.5 times higher complexity.

Hardware requirements.

Real-time UHD video encoding is feasible on a single dual-socket server. Spin Digital processed 4K video at 60 fps and 8K video at 30 fps, both in 10-bit HDR in real-time on a single server with two Intel Xeon Platinum processors with a total of 76 CPU cores.

Performance compared to optimized open-source HEVC and AV1 encoders.

When running on a multi-core CPU system targeting 4K 60 fps real-time operation, the encoder produces more than the required encoding performance. It achieves the highest compression efficiency compared to open-source HEVC and AV1 encoders such as x265, SVT-HEVC, and SVT-AV1. This benchmarking has not yet been performed with 8K content.

VVC bandwidth requirements for live 8K video are down from 50 Mbps to 40 Mpbs.

Using an objective quality criterion based on VMAF and informal subjective tests, the recommended range of bitrates for 4Kp60 live applications ranges from 13 to 14 Mbps, compared to 16 to 17 Mbps needed by Spin Digital’s HEVC real-time to achieve the same level of quality. For 8Kp60 live applications, the recommended bitrate with the new VVC encoder is 40 Mbps instead of the 50 Mbps required by the optimized HEVC encoder. Spin Digital told us that they performed internal quality tests, both subjective and objective, to confirm that they can achieve “broadcast-grade” quality at 40 Mbit/s with VVC (for 8Kp60 10-bit HDR10, 4:2:0)

The latest 8K live video streaming and broadcasting with VVC are available whether you’ve moved to IP or are using SDI.

The VVC encoder has been integrated into a live streaming framework developed by Spin Digital, including input capture via SDI and IP, audio and video encoding, and broadcast over IP and Internet streaming. 

These results need to be viewed from the proper perspective. VVC encoder development is in its early stages, and optimization of codecs often takes years once commercial products are available. Seeing notable improvements vs. the more mature codecs at this stage is a very encouraging sign with the prospect of more advancements over time.

Note that the live 8K demo at IBC22 will be limited to 30 fps

Spin Digital’s Alvarez Mesa told us that with the current generation of CPUs (i.e., 3rd-gen Intel Xeon Scalable with 2×38 CPU cores), they could reach 8Kp30 (4:2:0 – 10-bit ) real-time encoding. This demo will be shown at IBC with a Timelapse video from Andry Denisyuk, provided by the 8KA. Spin Digital expects the announcement of 4th-gen Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs soon, which should be powerful enough for 8Kp60.

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