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DISTRIBUTION & DELIVERY by Eli Garten, VITEC H igh-Efficiency Video Encoding (HEVC), also known as H.265, is the subsequent generation of H.264 and tapped to be the next widely adopted standard for video compression. As with any MPEG evolution, the new standard’s goal is to make compression more efficient and allow for reducing OPEX and CAPEX in various video delivery applications. With the introduction of the last major compression innovation, H.264, video applications experienced roughly half the data rates of the predecessor MPEG-2. With HEVC, the industry is predicting a similar ambitious result: achieving half the data rates of H.264. In only its first generation of development, HEVC is already providing data efficiencies of up to 40-percent while retaining the same image quality. As the codec continues to evolve and the broadcast market approaches more widespread adoption of 4K resolutions, there will be a strong push to achieve the 50-percent efficiency mark. HOW HEVC TECHNOLOGY IS REVOLUTIONIZING FIELD-BASED BROADCASTING Offsite Broadcasting Challenges The most desired requirement for today’s broadcasters and other video streaming operators is to save bandwidth when delivering content over expensive data pipes. Within offices and between broadcast centres, network connections are robust and additional bandwidth remains relatively inexpensive to purchase, but for field-based applications, broadcasters are still relying on costly satellite infrastructure or dedicated networks to stream content back to headquarters. And when broadcasting live from hard-to-access locations that usually have sub-optimal mobile infrastructure, broadcasters are forced to invest in additional equipment to enable cellular bonding techniques or simply lower their broadcast quality to adapt to the low bandwidth and quality of cellular connections. Field-Ready Solutions As with any new compression technology, the computational power needed will increase in relation to a format’s complexity. For standard HEVC encoding, processing a single HD feed using a software algorithm requires roughly four to six traditional Intel® CPU cores and possibly GPU acceleration to support the process. As a result, most of today’s software-based HEVC solutions use large servers to ingest and encode live feeds to HEVC format. Although technologically proficient, the characteristics of these platforms mitigate the ability to effectively deploy them in the field or for applications on the go — mainly due to form factor, high power consumption requirements, and transport costs. Using a new generation of compact, field-ready devices built with specialized HEVC chips, broadcasters are now able to efficiently stream HEVC feeds from any offsite location while shedding power consumption costs, portability issues, and the inconvenience of integrating physical servers into travel kits. 60 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 103 JULY 2015