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November 15, 2021

IntoPIX Highlights TICO-RAW and JPEG-XS Advancements (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our discussion with intoPIX, last week, we discussed their updated TICO-RAW codec enabling the capture of 8K content for camera-to-cloud applications. But for in-house production of 8K content, the JPEG-XS codec is also poised to make a real difference. Part 2 will now discuss intoPIX’s view on the status of JPEG-XS and touch on the question of 8K and sustainability.

In the chart below, intoPIX compares JPEG-XS with alternative mezzanine-class intra-frame codecs as well as higher compression codecs for distribution. JPEG-XS offers the low compression and high-quality characteristics of other mezzanine codecs but excels in the areas of low latency, low complexity, and support for hardware and software platforms.

Source: intoPIX

In a nutshell, JPEG-XS offers ultra-low complexity compression with negligible latency, below one 1ms, to reduce bandwidth by 10 to 20-fold. Thus a 40 Gbps 8K stream can be brought down to 2 Gbps to use many existing networks such as 3G-SDI or Wi-Fi. Plus, mid-range SSD storage can now become 8K compatible within production workflows.

As a production workflow codec, JPEG-XS is designed to reduce infrastructure requirements working on a LAN, WAN, or in the Cloud.

It is also applicable wherever low latency and low complexity are required, such as intoPIX live IP production and Cloud processing. The coming winter Olympics will be an excellent testbed for complete 8K workflows where intoPIX expects the codec to be deployed.

But low latency and low complexity are also demanded in other applications like

automotive connectivity, chip-to-chip interfaces, displays, mobiles, AR/VR, 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and all applications of AV over IP.

“Latency” has been a hot topic for distribution codecs since first-generation adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming introduced delays of up to a minute. Such “latencies” were problematic for live sports events. I used quotes because the correct term should have been “delay”, but our industry has a way of using the wrong word, and everyone follows suit. Latency within production workflow is a different topic. IntoPIX cites an MIT study showing that humans can only perceive latencies above 13 ms. They feel confident that latency is not an issue with JPEG-XS with sub-millisecond encode + decode times.

While we’re on definitions, no, RAW isn’t an acronym. I was wondering why it’s written in all caps. It’s just the accepted way of referring to uncompressed camera data. Shooting raw images might refer to uncooked foodstuffs, and shooting in raw could mean anything, including having a naked cameraperson on set.

JPEG-XS is a living standard with many novelties being released (e.g., for SMPTE 2110 or MPEG-TS). JPEG-XS uses wavelet transforms and offers easy extraction of an HD or 4K stream directly from the compressed 8K video stream – reminiscent of the promise of hierarchical encoding.

Dozens of products support JPEG-XS from many mainstream ecosystem providers, as shown in the graphic. Of particular interest to 8K Monitor readers, intoPIX’s latest IP-CORES product, destined for hardware integration, has several new 8K formats supporting up to 120fps.

Source: intoPIX

Discussing the lowering of computing power within workflows brought us to the issue of sustainability.

Lorent, first responded by explaining that the AV market is now multi-resolution. There will no longer be a complete crossover to 4K or 8K like there was for HD (even that is debatable with much of the world still watching SD TV). Instead, we will live with a multitude of resolutions and formats. Different markets have their own dynamics. 8K digital signage, for example, will be a “must-have” in only some markets.

Production will, however, move massively to 8K, and Lorent was quick to point out that TICO-RAW and JPEG-XS will help. Only 6 to 8 CPU cores can compress 8K rather than the 64 cores required for distribution codecs, lowering energy consumption.

IntoPIX believes Mezzanine compression formats will also lower power requirements. The ability to reuse existing infrastructure for 8K thanks to new codecs avoids the need to rip out old networks and replace them. In passenger planes (if we still have them), there will be no need to re-cable.

But with a device, say a mobile phone, battery consumption is reduced if we can compress data exchanges between components without requiring high processing power.

Similar savings will be possible when accessing storage.

Lorent told me, “intoPIX innovation isn’t about higher compression, but rather better compression with low power and low complexity. If 8K is coming anyway, intoPIX is proud to make that possible with a lower footprint.” He went on, “What is the problem we are trying to solve? We want to improve communications between people. 8K is just a tool, among others, to address the issue. Our technology is about throwing less away and reusing more.”

FastTico-XS SDK is a library provided by intoPIX. Free trial versions of the SDK, versions for academic & research purposes, and commercial OEM versions are available.

A direct link to look into intoPIX’s offering to try JPEG-XS: https://www.intopix.com/XS-SDK-and-FPGA-Development-Kit-for-Evaluation


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