This week the International Telecommunications Union in Switzerland agreed on a new standard for encoding video called H.265. The new standard, known informally as High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC), has been hailed as a breakthrough primarily because it should be able to deliver video at half the bandwidth of its predecessor, H.264, with no loss of quality. Make no mistake, this is a big deal. Right now, if you have a 3 mbps broadband connection you can only watch standard definition video over the Internet. With this new codec, you could get HD. As well, since cellphone data plans have low bandwidth caps, using H.265 you could stream twice as much video than you can today without exceeding your cap.
However, don’t plan on switching to H.265 just yet. It will take years for the new codec to roll out across the industry. Luckily you don’t have to wait to enjoy all the benefits of H.265. In fact, if you’re a Netflix customer, you may already be enjoying them now.
eyeIO has been helping Netflix deliver great quality video for a year now. The company is using eyeIO encoding technology to help it out with a big problem. When Netflix launched in Canada it was faced with draconian broadband bandwidth caps that severely limited the amount of video a customer could watch before incurring penalties. To counter this Netflix introduced a low bandwidth streaming profile that customers could select to allow them to stream much more video, but at a much lower quality. For example, with a 25GByte cap (common now in Canada) a customer can stream 25 hours of HD movies or 36 hours if they select a lower quality. However, according to Rodolfo Vargas, CEO of eyeIO, utilizing the company’s encoding technique a Netflix customer with 25 GB cap can stream 50 hours of content at HD quality.
The great thing about the eyeIO solution is that it works with existing H.264 compatible devices. Why does this matter? The H.264 decoder is already implemented in many of the chipsets that are used in todays connected device. Your smartphone or tablet almost certainly has it built in. It has taken a decade or more for H.264 to become universally available. It will take a decade or more for H.265 to reach that point.
There are ways around this problem for H.265. A tablet user could download software to allow it to decode H.265 video but decoding in software uses a lot more power than using the built-in H.264 decoder. That means watching video in the new format will drain the device’s battery much faster than an H.264 video.
One claim for H.265 is that it simply produces better quality video. News today, however, suggests that eyeIO video quality is already pretty darn good. eyeIO announced that it was the first in the encoding and streaming industry to attain THX® certification for its video compression encoding technology. (See the full text of the PR announcement below.) THX evaluate the picture quality and then rank it on a 100 point scale. A score of 90 or better is considered “THX Excellent Quality.” eyeIO scored 95.53.
For the future, in order for UltraHD to really take off, high efficiency video codecs are going to be a requirement. When I talked to Mr. Vargas last December he told me that the typical 4K UltraHD disk will deliver video at 25 mbps. Using eyeIO, he claimed it will take just 8 mbps to stream it online.
There’s one other benefit that is definitely worth paying attention to if you’re business is streaming video. You’re paying a lot of money for the bandwidth to deliver your movies and shows. Rather than waiting for H.265 to help you cut your bill in half, it might be worth taking a leaf out of Netflix’ book and give eyeIO a try.
Digital Cinema HD Video Quality
THX® Certified eyeIO video compression technology raises the standard delivering outstanding Digital Cinema picture quality at ultra-low bandwidth over the Internet
PALO ALTO, CA. – Jan 31, 2013 – Eye IO, LLC (eyeIO) today announced its leading video compression encoding technology is the first in the encoding and streaming industry to attain THX® certification, signifying a major achievement of the highest standards of quality and performance in digital video at record low-bandwidth.
As the leader in certification of world-class digital cinemas, premium audio systems, 3D and 4K/Ultra HD TVs, and blockbuster movies, THX identified eyeIO as a company sharing its dedication to progressing the delivery of professional content without compromise of fidelity or video quality and as a trailblazer in HD and Ultra HD Internet video streaming technology. As such, eyeIO becomes the first in the video streaming industry to receive the new THX Digital Cinema Encoder certification, a rigorous testing program that employs sophisticated, state-of-the-art digital picture quality analysis where THX golden-eye experts validate the video output of a professional grade encoder.
With the excitement in the industry over Ultra HD, H.265 and the next-generation TV, the ability to deliver THX Digital Cinema HD quality over the Internet is groundbreaking. The term “HD quality” for Internet streaming has been heavily debated, and broadly marketed, with no real consensus on exactly how to measure or validate true Digital Cinema HD quality other than possibly comparing the experience to Blu-ray picture—until now. Digital Cinema publishers can now expect their professional productions to be seen in true 1920x1080p high definition and be assured that their viewers will see their content as intended through eyeIO’s THX® Certified video compression.
“We are extremely impressed with eyeIO’s encoding technology performance and the consistent results it produces, delivering amazing picture quality,” said Chris Golson, senior director, business development, THX Ltd. “Until now, evaluation of quality has been unreliably subjective as is often affected by inappropriate setups. eyeIO is paving the way for higher quality digital video performance, and we are pleased to be a part of it by establishing a new professional benchmark for outstanding Digital Cinema HD video over the Internet.”
The new THX Digital Cinema HD Video Encoder certification program tests 46 critical data points in six major categories using evaluation test material developed by the top seven Hollywood studios to produce a score that objectively assesses picture quality. A THX score of 90 on a scale of 100 is considered ‘THX Excellent Quality’ and eyeIO’s H.264 First-generation encoder was able to produce an exceptional 95.528 score at an Internet streaming bitrate of 5.8 Mbps—an astonishing performance metric in today’s professional digital media.
“eyeIO’s technical team is deeply honored by the THX certification of its H.264 Internet video delivery technology and the standard it will set for the industry,” said Rodolfo Vargas, CEO of eyeIO. “For too long, the industry has referred to ‘HD’ video with no trustworthy and comprehensive method for validating true, professional high-quality digital cinema 1080p HD. We are hopeful that through our work with THX, we will be able to define a new level of quality for digital cinema HD video content broadcasting.”
eyeIO will keynote at the Seventh International Workshop on Video Processing and Quality Metrics for Consumer Electronics (VPQM) conference sponsored by Intel. The THX certified technology will be showcased and discussed by CEO Rodolfo Vargas on Friday, February 1st, 2013.
EYE IO, LLC (eyeIO) is a privately held, Palo Alto based startup developing breakthrough H.264 and H.265 solutions that represent the culmination of years of progressive research in next generation TV video delivery. eyeIO H.264 first and second generation technology enables cloud video engines, on-demand video services and over-the-top (OTT) ventures to provide premium video over today’s global Internet infrastructure at a low record cost bandwidth and operation. With more than 98 billion eyeIO frames encoded today, it enables its customers to deliver the highest consistent video quality to connected devices worldwide, including tablets, smart 3D TVs and Ultra HD TVs with unsurpassed playback speed, device compatibility and production stability. Visit www.eyeio.com to learn more.
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