Interview with Guido Meardi - CEO & Founder of V-NOVA
At NAB you won a best of show award for the use of machine-learning in your P.Link contribution encoder. Can you explain more?
P.Link uses the PERSEUS Pro compression format, which is more efficient than traditional wavelet or block-based codecs, and uniquely leverages in-loop Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). Information is hierarchical, efficiently extrapolating higher levels of details from the lower, so that minimal residual data has to be encoded.
These innovations enable P.Link to transport UHD visually lossless intra-only video at as little as 140 Mbps, a fraction of what’s required by JPEG2000 or HEVC-I! Its efficient processing also enables a very low cost per channel on commercial-off-the-shelf hardware.
There has been a lot of talk of the battle between HEVC and AV1 recently, but what’s your take?
HEVC adoption has been undermined by onerous and unclear royalties, and support in devices and browsers is still very limited. This explains why Google, Amazon and Netflix are promoting a royalty-free alternative. But AV1 also needs new hardware, which will take many years. Neither HEVC nor AV1 can address the billions of devices in use today and for the next 5-10 years, forcing operators who want to use them to duplicate workflows and deliver multiple ABR ladders.
In addition, both HEVC and especially AV1 are extremely processing hungry, which makes them costly for the live and time-shifted video that represent the majority of what people watch.
That is why we developed PERSEUS Plus AVC/h.264, which delivers better-than-HEVC compression, is faster to encode than AVC/h.264, and can be played on all existing consumer devices in hardware without reducing battery life, and plug-in free in any browser. It is effectively “royalty already paid for”, since it requires no additional IP hardware blocks in devices.
Also, PERSEUS Plus is codec agnostic: when HEVC or AV1 are decodable, PERSEUS Plus HEVC/AV1 can deliver substantial improvements relatively to native HEVC/AV1.
The V-Nova PERSEUS Plus technology has a lot of applications but are there new use cases driving demand?
Yes, there is growing interest for live 1080p60 and 4Kp60, particularly from sports broadcasters and the rapid growth sector of hyperscale eSports services.
Most devices support 1080p60 playback but cannot reliably receive the 6 Mbps or more other codecs require. With PERSEUS Plus we are unlocking the potential of delivering these qualities to large audiences, below 3 Mbps.
What are your goals for the rest of 2018?
To show that PERSEUS Plus can quickly free up a third of global internet traffic and triple the proportion of viewers receiving high quality streaming services.
PERSEUS Plus is seeing great traction, with more ecosystem partners and customers onboarding. We’re excited to see that trend continue, making digital experiences come alive for more consumers as we go.
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