Ozer to Break Down HEVC Codecs, Royalties at Streaming Forum

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Despite the royalties and competition from VP9 and AV1, HEVC is codec next for most OTT distributors. At this year's Streaming Forum, Streaming Media contributing editor and Streaming Learning Center principal Jan Ozer will present a session that will help you make codec decisions based on quality and efficiency, and another that will bring you up to speed on the royalty questions surrounding HEVC and H.264, as well as MPEG-DASH.

HEVC: Rating the Contenders

With so many codec options, which HEVC codec should you use? On 28 February, Ozer will present the results of his comparison of HEVC codecs. The handout distributed at the presentation will include extensive charts and graphs, and the presentation will allow plenty of time for Q&A. The results should prove useful to any streaming producers who plan to distribute via HEVC in 2017 and beyond.

By way of background, Ozer has been benchmarking codecs since 1994, and has previously compared VP8 to H.264HEVC to VP9, V-Nova PERSEUS to HEVC and H.264, and the x265 and MainConcept HEVC codecs. Ozer is the author of Video Encoding by the Numbers, released in 2017, and the highly regarding Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery.

For these tests, Ozer will test multiple HEVC codecs, which will include x265, MainConcept, NTT, and hopefully Intel and others. The comparisons will rank the HEVC codecs, and compare quality to highly optimized H.264. Unlike many who benchmark codecs, Ozer will work hand-in-hand with the codec developer to make sure the settings used during the tests represent the optimum for quality and performance.

Ozer's test files include standards like Tears of Steel and Sintel, which are useful for gauging the output quality for live action and animated movies, supplemented by other clips that present distinct challenges like high levels of detail or motion. Ozer will customize tests for OTT distribution, testing at 1080p, 2K, and 4K, and comparing encoding quality and encoding time. Quality will be gauged by objective metrics like PSNR, MS SSIM, and SSIMplus, supplemented by subjective comparisons.

HEVC, H.264, and MPEG-DASH Royalty Update

Ten years ago, to stream video, you needed to know how to encode to H.264 and configure Flash. Now you have to be a patent lawyer. The end of 2016 was brutal from a royalty perspective. MPEG LA did the unthinkable and launched a DASH patent pool, which will impact all OTT producers with more than 100,000 customers. Will they launch a similar pool for HLS using the same IP? Nokia sued Apple for H.264 patent infringement, asserting a novel theory that could enable royalties far beyond the $0.20/unit charged by MPEG LA and impact all producers using H.264. And in a rare act of sensibility, unfortunately unmatched by MPEG LA, HEVC Advance waived royalties on certain classes of HEVC decoders.
You can pay your patent attorney 1000 quid for an update, or come to this session on 1 March, where Jan Ozer covers what's known and what's not on royalties for H.264, HEVC, and DASH.

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