AV1 {Hardware} Options at IBC

AV1 {Hardware} Options at IBC

Whereas we’ve lined fairly a bit about hardware-assisted encoding—together with the latest Streaming Media journal article detailing the stability of ASICs and FPGAs in opposition to good-old-fashioned CPUs and GPUs—virtually all that effort has been targeted on H.264 (AVC) or H.265 (HEVC).

A part of this focus was based mostly on the maturity of the H.264 market, which has a protracted historical past in streaming and a fair longer historical past in videoconferencing. Because the article identified, with my profession path morphing from sub-200 millisecond dwell videoconferencing supply to multi-second streaming supply, H.264 has seen a number of cycles of {hardware} to extend scalability and high quality over a 25-year interval.

However, the Alliance for Open Media’s AV1 codec—touted as a royalty-free H.264 various and backed by the likes of Apple, Cisco, Google, and others—hasn’t obtained a lot {hardware} consideration, at the very least not within the encoding aspect of the acquisition and supply equation and positively not at content material supply community (CDN) scale.

Information popping out of the IBC 2022 tradeshow in Amsterdam this week could change that.

Whereas we’ve seen a number of makes an attempt on the real-time AV1 {hardware} encoding aspect over the three years—Socionext with its claims of cloud-based AV1 real-time encoding in 2019, in addition to Intel’s dual-pronged method—the brand new crop of hardware-enabled AV1 options embrace FPGAs and ASICs.

First up is NETINT, whose ASICs have been optimized for video supply at performance-to-power-consumption ratios extra akin to telco-level MPEG-2 {hardware} encoders from many years previous or trendy variations of the TI DaVinci DSP bundling or the Philips Tri-Media ASIC approaches.

“Reside streaming video platforms are demanding extra environment friendly and price efficient video encoding options,” says NETINT COO Alex Liu, noting that that is, partly, because of the emergence of latest interactive video functions. “[These applications] can solely be met with ASIC {hardware} encoding.”

One firm utilizing the NETINT method, and particularly its Quadra T2 low-latency 4K AV1 encoder to scale out supply is Swedish-based RealSprint. The corporate’s CDN service, Vindral, is meant to scale AV1 at sub-second latencies just like the way in which that H.264/SIP ultra-low-latency or WebRTC options from different CDNs carry out.

“Our 4K AV1 demo at sub-second glass-to-glass latency demonstrates that the viewing expertise of dwell streaming is shifting in the direction of an thrilling future,” says RealSprint CEO Daniel Alinder, noting that a part of the corporate’s objective is “to disrupt, spur innovation, and guarantee high-end streaming experiences.”

“We’re thrilled to take action within the firm of NETINT Applied sciences, Oracle, and the Chrome group.” says Alinder, who added that every one three events have been responsive when it comes to working collectively.

NETINT’s Liu agrees. “Vindral, the trade’s first 4K AV1 streaming platform… is a sport changer,” says Liu. “We’re actually excited in regards to the superb video experiences that Vindral customers will carry to their clients on account of this breakthrough in latency and high quality.”

Alinder notes that RealSprint’s place is that “NETINT ASICs can encode extra concurrent streams than we’ve seen with the rivals” and that, as soon as RealSprint was comfy with the ASIC performance-power stability, they then “introduced the Google Chrome group into the challenge, to assist with last tweaks and ensuring that all the things works as supposed.”

To be truthful, given the variations between ASICs and FPGAs and GPUs, we’ll level out that Intel’s Arc Alchemist GPUs have been AV1 hardware-enabled since February 2022 (see the Arc A380) and the evaluations which have are available in are spectacular when in comparison with among the extra well-known discrete GPUs marketed by AMD and NVIDIA.

As well as, the work that Intel and Netflix did collectively to optimize a subset of AV1 (often called SVT-AV1) harks again to an identical DASH-AVC/264 paring down of the DASH HTTP method a decade in the past.

And at last, we’ve heard rumblings that there will probably be just a few bulletins of transport FPGA-based AV1 encoding merchandise at IBC, which began in the present day and is underway till subsequent Monday.

Nonetheless, what RealSprint is claiming to do is spectacular. We’ll try to get a demo of this sub-second AV1 at scale answer earlier than IBC ends and report again to StreamingMedia.com’s readers.

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