HEVC Advance’s royalty removal is a step in the right direction. Here’s why.

On March 13, HEVC Advance announced that it has removed its license fees for subscription, title-by-title encoding and distribution for all non-physical media using the Emmy Award winning HEVC video compression standard.

This essentially means that cable, on-air broadcast and satellite streaming will no longer be subject to royalty fees previously sought by HEVC Advance. According to HEVC Advance, this move is part of an effort to accelerate the adoption of HEVC compression especially as 4K resolution content become more and more ubiquitous in streaming-video markets.

Additionally, HEVC Advance also announced it has expanded its discount program for Region 1 (which includes North America, Europe, Middle-east and A-Pac excluding emerging markets like India & China) Lower-Priced Connected Home and Other Devices Category to include units costing up to $80. It also consolidated and reduced it’s enterprise cap to $40M and further expanded it’s Trademark Program discounts to include physical media. This makes HEVC easier to implement in a greater number of devices.

This is, however, not the first move of its kind. Back in 2016, HEVC Advance waived fees on software applications like browsers and media players that implement HEVC encoding and decoding only using a general purpose CPU and no hardware acceleration. Essentially, this move was to drive the market for HEVC by allowing free software implementations on hardware that lacked HEVC acceleration functions but equipped with the horsepower needed to handle HEVC compression in software. Fast forward a year, in October 2017, HEVC Advance again announced discounted royalty rates specifically to increase adoption of HEVC among lower-priced devices

Earlier, there was another major shift in 2017 when Apple, at its Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC17), announced that it would support HEVC in both its computer and smartphone operating systems. This put HEVC at the forefront over other parallel open source compression formats, as the most prominent phone-maker in the world and one of the most popular and well-known computer-makers worldwide was supporting HEVC. This was definitely music to the ears of the video community including companies like NGCodec that had invested heavily in HEVC.  

While Apple’s move and it’s adoption of HEVC in it’s iPhones, iPads and Macs showed a great deal of promise, the adoption rate of HEVC for streaming content still suffered primarily due to the royalty issues that had plagued it for years coupled with the huge market share of royalty-free VP9 codec in browsers and Android smartphones. NGCodec has also publicly stated that both VP9 and HEVC may be required because the Premium segment lead by Apple is HEVC only and Mass market led by Google Android is VP9 Only.Apple has since joined AOM, fueling uncertainties and speculations about the future of MPEG video codecs for streaming applications. Recently, MPEG’s founding chairman Leonard Chiariglione also wrote a critical blog post titled 'A crisis, the causes and a solution' that portrayed a rather bleak future for MPEG Video standards. In his article, it is shown that while there are indeed concerns about the future of video compression technology, there are also solutions available.

HEVC Advance’s latest move is a good step in the right direction towards helping broadcasters and internet video encoding providers provide HEVC as part of their codec portfolio and leverage it’s superior compression gains over the earlier dominant H.264 standard. Broadcasters can now use HEVC’s best-in-class compression royalty-free for their ingest and contribution workflows either on-prem or in the cloud. This will enable providers to expand their offerings to higher resolutions like 4K and also offer higher resolutions for a given bit rate or reduce bandwidth consumption for existing resolutions. MSOs can now effectively use HEVC encoding for distribution over cable, satellite or OTT thereby providing a far richer video experience for consumers.

It should be noted however that HEVC has three patent pools (the other two being MPEG LA and Velos Media) and a host of other patent holders who're not a part of neither pool and it remains to be seen how the other two patent pools respond to this move. HEVC Advance's announcement comes right in time as the industry gears up for the annual NAB show next month in Las Vegas. 




NGCodec Joins New Huawei 5G Cloud VR/AR/MR SIG at Mobile World Congress 2018

Barcelona, Spain. NGCodec, a pioneer in cloud video processing, has joined the 5G Cloud VR/AR/MR Special Interest Group (SIG) established by Huawei’s Wireless Xlabs at the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC). The participants include leading VR and wireless technology providers seeking to stream experiences through the cloud targeting upcoming 5G wireless networks. Consumer applications hold the promise of speeding the adoption of 5G, but must break new ground, beyond today’s ubiquitous mobile broadband networks. NGCodec believes that streaming the cloud directly to the user interface can create a new wave of consumer application innovation. This vision is detailed in a new white paper by TIRIAS Research entitled “The Instantaneous Cloud: Emerging Consumer Applications of 5G Wireless Networks” now available at online.

“NGCodec is working actively with service and network providers to demonstrate the synergy between low latency 5G wireless networks and high quality, low latency video streaming technology,” said the company’s new VP of Worldwide Business Development, Ian Jefferson. “Today’s Cloud video streaming technology from NGCodec designed for the most demanding live video streaming applications will continue to develop in support of upcoming cloud VR services on 5G networks.”

“Without new consumer applications, 5G will be unable to drive new models or monetization and risks slow adoption.” said Oliver Gunasekara CEO and Founder of NGCodec. “Taking advantage of the massive improvement in latency with 5G technology can unlock an instantaneous cloud with new and inventive business models. The next generation of immersive, high performance VR/AR/MR applications will be streamed directly to affordable and ubiquitous mobile devices.”

The company’s RealityCodec™  is optimized for low latency, streaming VR over a network with no noticeable difference between the encoded stream and a directly connected head mounted display. Today, this technology delivers broadcast quality H.265/HEVC for real-time streaming in the Amazon EC2 F1 Cloud and low latency H.265/HEVC for interactive virtual reality.

About NGCodec Inc.
NGCodec® has been in passionate pursuit of next generation video compression since 2012. With the support of investors including Xilinx, NGCodec’s agile startup team has created Reality Codec™, a compressor-decompressor technology optimized for ultra-low latency, high-quality applications. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, NGCodec leverages FPGA acceleration in the Cloud to lower encoding costs by 10x over traditional CPU encoders. Learn more at online.

 5G Cloud VR SIG Meeting on Monday 26th February at MWC 2018

5G Cloud VR SIG Meeting on Monday 26th February at MWC 2018



Top 5 Reasons to Use the Cloud for Your Encoding

Streaming media is facing explosive growth thanks to online consumption of live events, video chats and conferences, TV shows and movies. Cloud video processing and encoding are tools that content creators, editors and providers are increasingly relying on as an alternative to the typical on-prem hardware-based processing, encoding and storage model.

Videos are becoming more ubiquitous each day, and with this ubiquity comes the need to encode and transcode content. In the past, dedicated server farms have been used to encode and transcode videos. These are expensive and maintenance-heavy, and in a world increasingly focused on the importance of video content, versatility is often the name of the game. Content creators and distributors like to have many tools and options at their fingertips, and the ability to make money more easily is certainly a plus as well. Monetization does not necessarily have to be at the top line but potentially could be overall starting at the bottom line.

So, how does cloud-based encoding fit in? 

Here’s the top reasons why content engineers are increasingly using cloud encoding infrastructure over the world of traditional hardware-based encoding:

1. Ease of use

Online encoding tools are, in general, far easier to use than the ones integrated into custom hardware-based on-prem solutions. They’re flexible, offer various codec options and usually much easier to set up and get rolling with minimal intervention and maintenance. This has significant reductions in engineering time and personnel resource management. In short, the Cloud encoding services does most of the automated work, and the parts controlled by the user are generally easier to use.

2. Pay-as-you-go options

Though not inherent to Cloud-based video encoding, Cloud encoding services principally allow users to pay as they go. This means systems can be customized for any level of use, and extra, unnecessary costs are generally avoidable. It enables you to launch a new channel or service with phenomenally low up-front encoding hardware investment. Leading cloud encoding services today provide a variety of customized packages to suit different user needs and scales.

3. Scaling

The benefits of scaling video cannot be underestimated. Resources can be scaled depending on need, meaning as a provider, you’re not forced to provision or pay for resources that are not used. Rather, cloud encoding infrastructure allows you to scale services and resources automatically, taking that job out of the user’s hands and enables better handling of peak demand situations.

4. Monetization

Most Cloud-based video services are very integrated with advertising systems, decision servers and DRM providers, which help bring in money and lock content behind paywalls in order to protect its value. Cloud services also allow even more versatile options, including the ability to incorporate advanced analytics to tailor specific ads.

5. Future-proof

By nature, Cloud-based video encoding services are better equipped than hardware-based ones when it comes to staying ready and vigilant for the future of video encoding. E.g. launching a 4K service today and later upgrading to 8K might be easier done using the cloud than investing in dedicated on-prem hardware. Expert cloud video encoding services keep video infrastructure and software up-to-date and allows them to adapt easily to the ever-changing technological landscape.

In effect, cloud-based encoding is an increasingly viable option for content providers and creators to consider when it comes to putting their videos online. While hardware-based on-prem video encoding has been the norm for a very long time, streaming from the Cloud is an ever-growing option with a wide variety of benefits that cannot and should not be ignored.

Understandably, the biggest benefit of Cloud-based video encoding is versatility. While on-prem hardware can be up-front expensive and cumbersome, the Cloud has made a name for itself as an easy-to-use option that is as deep as you want it to be. The technological world is ever-changing, and the Cloud seems to provide a superior video encoding option that is set to adapt with technology rather than be left behind by it.



Xilinx demos the new VU37P FPGA with embedded HBM DRAM

Virtex UltraScale+ FPGA augmented with co-packaged HBM DRAM operating at full speed (460Gbytes/sec), error-free, on the very first day of silicon bringup
The 2-minute video below shows you an operational Xilinx Virtex UltraScale+ XCVU37P FPGA, which is enhanced with co-packaged HBM (high-bandwidth memory) DRAM using Xilinx’s well-proven, 3rd-generation 3D manufacturing process. (Xilinx started shipping 3D FPGAs way back in 2011, starting with the Virtex-7 2000T and we’ve been shipping these types of devices ever since.)
This video was made on the very first day of silicon bringup for the device and it is already operating at full speed (460Gbytes/sec), error-free, over 32 channels. The Virtex UltraScale+ XCVU37P is one big All Programmable device with:

  • 2852K System Logic Cells
  • 9Mbits of BRAM
  • 270Mbits of UltraRAM
  • 9024 DSP48E2 slices
  • 8Gbytes of integrated HBM DRAM
  • 96 32.75Gbps GTY SerDes transceivers

This will significantly reduce the system power and board size of a Cloud Video Transcoder. This video shows the world's largest and fastest HBM-enabled FPGA up and running error free within the first day of silicon bring up. This Virtex® UltraScale+™ HBM-enabled FPGA provides 460 GB/s integrated memory bandwidth and three million logic cells.



NGCodec has opened a new office in Waterloo, Canada

We have now opened our office in Waterloo Canada. Two people currently headed by our new CTO. We are now looking for more people.

Specifically we are looking for (Job descriptions on the links): 

Anyone you can recommend?

Thanks Oliver

P.S. We announced a $8M Series A at CES.



How can you make Wellness Initiatives work at your startup?


In many startups, employee wellness initiatives is not an everyday topic of discussion and is often neglected. As founders and employees cope with the pressures of winning investors and customers by delivering high quality products, the reality around them can be counter-demanding. Entrepreneurs and employees at every small startup face phenomenal stress dealing with several do or die decisions in addition to struggles to remain motivated and deliver critical milestones. Believe it or not, wellness initiatives even in startups, when envisioned and executed right, can be a game changer in boosting employee and company morale, focus and productivity.

The classic Wikipedia definition of 'Workplace wellness' is 'any workplace health promotion activity or organizational policy designed to support healthy behavior in the workplace and to improve health outcomes'. While health and physical wellness is the focus in many organizations which usually offer incentives for physical fitness activities and lifestyle, the concept of wellness is more holistic and encompasses activities far beyond physical health initiatives.

"Wellness is the compete integration of body, mind, and spirit - the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being" - Greg Anderson

At NGCodec, we strive to tailor our wellness program around a number of well rounded structured activities. In fact, a successful wellness initiative, we believe, needs to cover all of the following four aspects:


Health is wealth. It's the lifeline of every employee and company and every wellness program is rightly structured around it. We include simple health wellness activities like speaker sessions focusing on healthy living, diet trends and workplace fitness. We could also plan to include webinars on different physical fitness and health related topics. While this is usually the prime focus in several organizations, wellness initiatives don't have to stop here.


This includes activities that motivate employees, makes people feel they are part of a family that grows with a common purpose. Common activities in this category could include going out for lunch with the team with every new hire, subsidizing employee training programs, books and memberships, celebrating milestones. It could also include employee training sessions, financial guidance etc. Also, when companies take extra efforts to communicate the company mission and how employee contributions fit in the grand scheme of things, it goes a long way in keeping employees engaged thereby significantly boosting productivity. 


Effective team collaborations don't happen on their own. They need to be carefully planted, nurtured and grown. This in turn builds the company culture as it grows. Employees who have friends at work tend to collaborate better, are more passionate and hence more productive. Social activities like happy hours, company lunches, team off sites or a simple hike to a nearby park are perfect yet simple solutions where employees get to know each other better in a much informal setting. Our plan is to include some of these activities during this year.


'The more we give, the more we receive'. Activities like participating in a charity walk, identifying and supporting a charity or cause, volunteering at local community events in turn enhance the sense of belonging in people. As people become motivated and engaged in community activities together it bonds them with a higher purpose and the workplace is no longer a dull environment that simply brings with it a paycheck. At NGCodec, we strive to focus on one charity identified by consensus and structure a series of fun fundraising activities around it.

Watch this space for more on our chosen charity and activities!

Do you have a fun filled wellness promoting idea at the workplace? Feel free to share and let us know!



NGCodec CES 2018 Round up



NGCodec was at the America’s Seed Fund Powered by the National Science Foundation at Eureka Park. It was a great show and we demonstrated our RealityCodec Video compression technology for VR application. Cloud-based VR is an emerging application for cloud video encoding where high end graphics applications are run in the cloud, and output is converted to compressed video streams for rapid transmission to untethered mobile users. The performance of cloud servers is 20x that of smartphone clients, bringing today's PC class performance to any head-mounted display. Our RealityCodec is optimized for ultra low latency enabling streaming VR content over a network with no noticeable difference between the encoded stream and a directly connected head mounted display. By deploying mobile edge servers with built-in RealityCodec encoders, we believe service providers will be well positioned to provide VR experiences as a service to consumers in the near term.

The demo set up at CES2018 consisted a PC running a high-end game powered by SteamVR and rendered using a high-performance Nvidia PC graphics card. The uncompressed video graphics from the Nvidia card were fed as input to the Hardware accelerated FPGA RealityCodec Ultra Low Latency Encoder. The output of the encoder was connected to a low latency decoder through a network switch with the decoder output connected to the HMD over HDMI. The head and hand movements from the user were also captured in real-time and fed back to the PC application to render the next frame.

Check the video below where Oliver Gunasekara, our CEO explains and showcases the technology.



Five Critical blockers to immersive cloud VR


Desktop VR has phenomenal mature ecosystems but suffers from the limitation that users are wired due to high bandwidth needed to transfer video from the desktop to the HMD. On the other hand, standalone Mobile VR suffers from serious processing and battery life limitations. Cloud VR, which marries the two technologies, is an excellent fit and this white paper by Tirias Research highlights the current industry challenges and the solution proposed using Cloud VR.

The cloud VR framework while practical is still in it's infancy and has problems which have to be solved before it can be deployed. Fortunately, the technical solution to these problems exist today and with efforts and collaboration amongst industry leaders, this solution is deployable in the near term.

So, what are the five key blockers that prevent an immersive Cloud VR experience today?

  • Low Latency Video Encode: The cloud VR architecture leverages the full processing capability of Desktop VRs and compresses the Video 300:1 and streams it across the cloud network. For the VR application, where frames are rendered based on user head movements, it means a very low end-end latency compression engine is required while preserving the fidelity of graphics rendered. NGCodec's hardware accelarated reality codec has ultra low sub-frame encode latency and solves this problem. NGCodec has also demonstrated the quality and latency of this encoder at CES2018.
  • Low Latency network: Seamless VR applications typically need an motion-to-photon latency of ~20ms. If video is rendered, compressed and delivered through a network, it's critical that network providers ensure network latency is bare minimum and 5G infrastructure and fiber optics plus WiFi can deliver ~2ms latency, ~0.1ms jitter and very low packet loss.
  • Proximity to the edge: It's crucial that cloud servers performing the heavy duty rendering and encoding be deployed at high density 'edge locations' to ensure maximum coverage. E.g. in a metropolitan area like NYC at an epicenter with up to 200 mile radius coverage. Due to speed of light and 50% overhead going through equipment every 60 miles is ~1ms round trip latency on a fiber optic network.
  • Low Latency Video Decode: The addition of a compression layer in VR processor will naturally require a decompresser at the consumption head set end. For a seamless experience, the HMD has to, in addition to the modem, also incorporate a low latency video decoder. It's important that a standard compliant decoder enabled with Low latency decode mode be integrated in chipset inside the HMD. The low latency video decode must be coupled with a low latency display controller.  
  • Inside out 6DoF tracking: 3DoF tracking currently used in most mobile HMDs has its limitations which 6DoF tracking is expected to alleviate and most leading HMD makers are working to incorporate built-in 6DoF tracking in the next generation HMDs. Furthermore, the outside-in tracking used in current Desktop VRs also needs to be replaced with Inside-Out architecture to avoid the need for the user to install external tracking infrastructure.


Download Cloud VR White Paper




Industry definitions of Immersive Visual Experiences (VR/AR/MR)

Over a year ago (December 2016) the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ reality working group* defined the following industry definitions:

  • "Virtual Reality" (VR) creates a digital environment that replaces the user’s real-world environment.
  • "Augmented Reality" (AR) overlays digitally-created content into the user’s real-world environment.
  • "Mixed Reality" (MR) is an experience that seamlessly blends the user’s real-world environment and digitally-created content, where both environments can coexist and interact with each other.
  • "360° Video" or "360 Video" allows the user to look in every direction around him/her.

I think they are a great start to help get consistency in the industry. I would add that VR and MR require a Head Mounted Display (HMD) where as AR uses a Smartphone or Tablet display. I would also add the following definitions:

  • 3DoF allow the viewer to change their view using three kinds (‘degrees’) of movement. (Three Degrees of Freedom i.e Yaw, Pitch, Roll).
  • 6DoF allow the viewer to change their view using six kinds (‘degrees’) of movement. (Six Degrees of Freedom).

I would expect they could be combined. E.g. a 360 Video 6DoF experence. Typically 6DoF camera capture light fields and point clouds. Below is a graphic from Facebook on 6DoF.

 Above is video given at the Facebook developer conference in April 2017

Above is video given at the Facebook developer conference in April 2017

*The CTA reality working group includes member companies Amazon, AMD, Dolby Laboratories, the Fox Innovation Lab at Twentieth Century Fox, GoPro, HTC Vive, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Reverge VR, Samsung, Sony, STRIVR, Technicolor, and Translink Capital.



NGCodec Closes $8M Series A, Launches Live Broadcast H.265/HEVC Cloud Video Encoding and Demonstrates Cloud VR

Company Demonstrates Broadcast & Virtual Reality Solutions with the National Science Foundation at 2018 Consumer Electronics Show Eureka Park (Booth 50322)

Upcoming AV1 Codec Support and Trial Deployments on 5G Network Technology to Follow with the Close of $8M in New Funding

Las Vegas, Nevada. Today NGCodec, the pioneer in cloud video processing, announced the availability of broadcast quality H.265/HEVC for real-time streaming in the Amazon AWS Marketplace and ultra low latency H.265/HEVC for interactive virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). Streaming content from the cloud will activate the first billion users in VR by effectively transforming smartphones into high performance VR/MR clients. Broadcast quality video encoding will allow broadcasters to stream live events to millions of viewers with the same visual quality (VQ) as video on demand (VOD). The availability of the NGCodec H.265/HEVC encoder, followed in 2018 by support for the new Alliance for Open Media (AOM) AV1 Codec will provide the highest quality video encoding technology for real-time, interactive entertainment powered by scalable cloud infrastructures. Today’s high-speed fiber optic and emerging 5G wireless technology will deliver these experiences to users everywhere.

“NGCodec RealityCodec™ delivers the best video quality for live H.265/HEVC video encoding in the AWS EC2 F1 public cloud” said Marc Todd Founder and CEO of Skreens. “It took just a few days to integrate and the SaaS based pricing avoids larger upfront costs.” Skreens, an NGCodec customer, delivers multi-video fusion solutions for broadcast, streaming, and AV to mobile, desktop and IOT users.

“We have worked diligently to bring our advanced video codecs to the Amazon Cloud and to demonstrate the potential for cloud media and virtual reality.” said Oliver Gunasekara CEO and Co-Founder of NGCodec. “Closing our Series A round will propel our technology into the 5G era, bringing our total raised to $15.9M from world-class institutions." 

“NGCodec is delivering two technically challenging entertainment experiences through the cloud: real time, live broadcast and low-latency, high resolution VR and MR,” said the company’s new CTO and VP of Algorithms, Pavel Novotny. “Our broadcast quality video processing technology will allow broadcasters to stream the highest quality live video at 60 frames per second to millions of viewers delivered with the same VQ as VOD with scalable cloud servers. Our VR streaming technology renders 90 frames per second and scales to meet the increasing resolution and frame rate demands of next generation headsets. Both will migrate to our AV1 codec implementation later in 2018 for even higher compression”

The company is demonstrating RealityCodec for VR at the America’s Seed Fund Powered by the National Science Foundation at 2018 CES Eureka Park (Booth 50322). Cloud-based VR is an emerging application for cloud video encoding where applications are run in the cloud, and output is converted to compressed video streams for rapid transmission to untethered mobile users. The performance of cloud computers is 20x that of smartphone clients, bringing PC class performance to any head-mounted display. RealityCodec is optimized for low latency, streaming VR over a network with no noticeable difference between the encoded stream and a directly connected head mounted display. To further explore the future of VR streaming, NGCodec and Tirias Research have announced the publication of a free white paper on the potential for cloud to activate a billion VR/MR users available at online.

NGCodec creates algorithms, silicon logic and FPGA implementations for cloud video processing, powering the next generation of real-time media experiences. The company’s RealityCodec technology streams interactive and real-time media at the highest performance levels. The company is announcing the completion of its most recent financing round of $8M bringing the total invested to date to $15.9M. 

About NGCodec Inc.

NGCodec® has been in passionate pursuit of next generation video compression since 2012. With the support of investors including Xilinx, NGCodec’s agile startup team has created Reality Codec™, a compressor-decompressor technology optimized for ultra-low latency, high-quality applications. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, NGCodec leverages FPGA acceleration in the Cloud to lower encoding costs by 10x over traditional CPU encoders. Learn more at or @NGCodec. NGCodec can be found On the NSF booth in Eureka Park, Sands Expo Level 1 Hall G, Booth Number 50322


Media Contact

Oliver Gunasekara, CEO



NGCodec demos Cloud VR at CES 2018

We have been choose by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to showcase our Cloud VR engineering innovations on the NSF booth (#50322) in Eureka Park Marketplace at CES 2018. NSF awards about $200 million annually to startups and small businesses. NGCodec has received almost $1M in grants from the NSF.

You can read more in the NSF press release Future consumer technology from NSF at CES 2018 Eureka Park.

If you would like to see a demo then please use the widget on this page.