Video transcoding is a critical part of every video delivery and streaming service and has a huge impact on the quality of service, quality of experience, and the cost of video streaming.
With an industry that is on the decades-old H.264/AVC in most parts of the world, with contenders such as H.265/HEVC, AV1, VP9, and the new crop of codecs (VVC, EVC, and LCEVC) making news, how is the transcoding landscape going to change in 2023?
Is 2023 going to be the year where HEVC becomes the dominant codec and in which parts of the world? What is the impact of Google adding support for HEVC into Google Chrome?
Or, we start seeing widespread hardware support for AV1 and an uptick in its adoption? Or will we continue to encode with a mixed bag of codecs and suffer increased transcoding, storage costs?
We don’t know – do you?
Well, to get a better idea of what the future holds for us, we talked to multiple transcoding leaders to get their views, predictions, and expectations for 2023 and beyond.
OTTVerse presents to you – “Transcoding Predictions for 2023 – The Experts Speak!”
If you are a transcoding enthusiast, please check out OTTVerse’s collection of transcoding-related articles, news, tutorials, and whitepapers.
Stefan Lederer, CEO and Founder of Bitmovin
In 2023, the appetite for online video will continue on an upwards trajectory in media and entertainment and beyond, in verticals such as eLearning, Faith, Social Media, Health and Fitness, and Gaming brands.
However, the competition for eyeballs will become even fiercer as consumers become more scrupulous with their spending and prioritize services that offer the best quality of experience.
What underpins this is innovative technologies.
Focus on Efficiency
There will be greater efforts to make video streaming more efficient by using less bandwidth and minimizing costs by adopting state-of-the-art compression and streaming technologies.
Making the streaming infrastructure more efficient not only helps reduce costs, it can also act as a driver for improved customer retention. Startup times, buffering, and stream errors, which are some of the leading causes of users cancelling their subscriptions, can also benefit from this.
Growth in HEVC and AV1
Looking ahead to 2023, our 6th Annual Video Developer Report shows we can expect some exciting changes with the planned adoption, in particular video codecs, in the next 12 months. The importance and use of H.265/HEVC and AV1 continue to grow, with planned adoption in the next 12-24 months having doubled year over year, and we expect HEVC usage to increase as a result of Google adding HEVC support for Chrome in the second half of 2022.
I am particularly excited about the planned increase in the adoption of AV1 because we have been long-time advocates of it as a next-generation codec, so it’s great to see it starting to take off!”Stefan Lederer, Bitmovin
Thomas Kramer, VP of Business Development and Strategy, MainConcept
2023 will be another transformative year, with many of the technologies we have been hearing about for quite some time becoming more mainstream.
For transcoding, here are a few of our expectations in three areas: audio, video and cloud.
Audio is underappreciated, with far more focus placed on video. However, that will change in 2023. Immersive audio has been around for a while, with offerings from Fraunhofer (MPEG-H) and Dolby (AC4) leading the list. Most new smart TVs support at least one version of immersive audio. Portable devices are joining the ranks as well, with support in Apple AirPods (Max and Pro), Google Pixel 6 and 7 smartphones, and more. More devices and thus more productions will put the audio experience in focus. Next-gen TV standards have adopted either one of the immersive audio formats.
Video transcoding will become “smarter”, enabling flexibility for fast modifications per user. This is critical given the quick rise of targeted advertising, allowing broadcasters to better monetize their viewer base.
Hyper targeted advertising signals the next wave in content customization and is pointed to as a key technology to maintain existing advertising revenue while attracting new interest.
2022 saw the highest growth yet in FAST channels, plus the addition of ad supported pricing tiers to streaming behemoths like Netflix and Disney+.
Latency is a perpetual industry hot topic. The transition to cloud only exacerbates the issue. In the cloud, transcoding has to change from traditional “file-to-file” to a more latency focused process, where video is converted and further managed instantly. While we may not get to zero latency in 2023, we are well on the way to reducing it from 30 seconds or more.
Jan Ozer develops training courses for streaming media professionals; provides encoding-related testing services to encoder developers; helps video producers perfect their encoding ladders and deploy new codecs. Jan blogs primarily at the StreamingLearningCenter. He shares with us his thoughts on the transcoding landscape for 2023.
Rise in HEVC, AV1, and VVC
- HEVC usage will skyrocket due to near ubiquitous hardware support on mobile devices (and lack of AV1 support on the same endpoints), as well as Chrome support
- AV1 will gain Dolby Vision support making it a legitimate option for the living room as AV1-enabled Smart TVs and OTT devices increase in share
- VVC deployments will become commonplace and VVC will increasingly look like codec next
ASICs and AI
- Meta will deploy their encoding ASICs (already announced), as will one or two UGC sites in other countries
- The first AI-based codec will be formally introduced for focused applications like autonomous cars and other devices
Note: go here to learn more about EVC, VVC, LCEVC – the next generation video codecs from MPEG.
Zoe Liu, CEO and Co-Founder, Visionular
Below is what my thoughts on the 2023 trending on video codec, in particular on software encoder and its related technologies:
We believe software encoder and hardware encoder will coexist, addressing different use cases while manifesting respective advantages.
For software encoders, we expect that energy efficiency optimization will draw more attention, largely due to the exponential growth of UGC and PUGC videos that have caused humongous computational cost. Overall, we expect encoders should balance the following:
- Visual quality
- Bitrate consumption
- CPU usage
- Encoding speed
- Processing delay
Mix of AVC, HEVC, and AV1
- H.264/AVC will continue to dominate, as it is still the video codec format with unanimous support across all platforms, although it will continue to drop w.r.t. its market share.
- HEVC/H.265 is taking off, in particular for HDR and UHD (2K/4K/8K) video compression, also considering Chrome recently enabling its HEVC playback.
- AV1: A growing deployment of AV1 can be expected, with potential support from Qualcomm and Apple to help complete the AV1 ecosystem.
Other codecs will coexist in the market for the year of 2023.
Technologies combining video processing and encoding will further be largely developed. Software encoders need to consider supporting both X86 and ARM, and growing ARM support requests may lead the trend, featuring significantly lower power consumption and compelling pricing than their X86 equivalent.
New Codec Research – AV2 and AI-led Encoding
- New codec standards will continue to be developed, featured by AV2 by AOMedia, and on-going efforts over the Enhanced Compression Model (ECM) jointly developed by ITU-T and MPEG.
- The use of AI in video codecs will further be explored, aiming to break the constraint of the traditional 2D Transform + Motion Compensation framework.
Editor’s note: OTTVerse thanks Stefan Lederer, Jan Ozer, Thomas Kramer, and Zoe Liu for sharing their thoughts, ideas, and predictions for 2023. We wish them a great 2023 and look forward to hearing more from them this year.