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NGCodec Presents the Next Generation of Video at CES 2019

The Intersection of 5G and Emerging Video Standards Makes it Possible to Deliver Live Streams at Broadcast Quality to Any Screen

NGCoded has the highest performance, lowest latency, best visual quality video encoders available and is demonstrating the future of live video streams and mixed reality experiences at CES 2019. If you would like to meet with us, use our online scheduling tool at www.ngcodec.com/ces online or visit our booth at Sands Expo Center,Level 1, Hall G, Booth 52786 at CES 2019.  

Video streams are a massive component - 70% -  of internet traffic and growing fast. At CES 2019 NGCodec will for the first time have our own booth and will be demonstrating the future of live, interactive internet video. We are announcing our upcoming AV1 support and double density encoding - a 2X performance improvement - coming later this year. We are also demonstrating VR encoding for real time, interactive games at the full resolution and spec of the HTC Vive featuring our latest latency improvements, delivering an ultra low latency video stream with performance and visual quality indistinguishable from the native stream at less than 20Mbits/second.

Today’s Fastest, Highest Visual Quality Video Encoders

Today, NGCodec has the highest performance video encoder available and the only encoders which can provide broadcast quality live streams on H.265/HEVC and VP9. It produces encoded video at the highest quality and lowest bitrate employing the latest video standards. At CES 2019 you can see our new NGCodec developer platform, a small dedicated video encoder for prototyping cloud-scale encoding.

Emerging codecs including H.265/HEVC and VP9 offer higher compression rates with the same or better visual quality and encoding costs. Implementations vary – the compression rate and visual quality of a given encoder can be dramatically different. NGCodec has developed state-of-the-art encoders, using Xilinx FPGAs, providing over 30% better compression with H.265/HEVC and VP9 compared to existing H.264/AVC encoders targeting live workloads. For video streaming, better compression means reduction in bandwidth.

Google, Twitch, and NGCodec recently published a VP9 implementation white paper on hardware based encoding for live VP9 encoding and Twitch has created a pubic test stream as a technology demonstration. You need VP9 decoder support in your browser which is available with Chrome and can be viewed at https://www.twitch.tv/vp9dev online.

“FPGA-based real-time VP9 encoding can deliver at least 25% bitrate savings compared to the highest-quality H.264 encoders deployed in Twitch’s production today.” -- The Twitch Blog, December 2018

A 5G Future - Streaming Interactive Applications to VR/AR Screens

In the future, improving performance in video encoding makes it possible to deliver broadcast quality interactive experiences at modest bitrates to all consumers on all devices. Emerging services will stream experiences from the cloud and cloud edge - virtual reality, augmented reality, and interactive video - with low latency indistinguishable from a local PC.

On emerging 5G networks, users can experience the performance of a high performance computer on lightweight VR and AR glasses with applications processed and encoded to video with low latency in the cloud. NGCodec is working with Ericsson and other industry leaders to demonstrate VR over 5G. In 2018 we provide the first demo of interactive VR on a live 5G network at the Ericsson Silicon Valley Experience Center, encoding video to H.265/HEVC at less than 20Mbits/second using the HTC Vive at full resolution and framerate spec with no perceived latency when compared to use on a desktop PC.
For more information feel free to reach out to info@ngcodec.com or feel free to book some time with our online tool www.ngcodec.com/ces at CES 2019.

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4 Reasons Why VP9 is Important

VP9 video is everywhere even if you don't realize it, thanks to the likes of YouTube and Netflix. But, what is it and why should you care about it?

VP9 is an open and royalty-free codec. That’s one immediate reason why it is a very lucrative option especially for hyper scale internet video services who have embraced it as an upgrade over the immensely popular previous generation H.264 codec. VP9 was developed by Google as part of it's WebM project, and was historically used primarily on YouTube. However, the format has gradually expanded to Netflix and others. When Netflix began using it towards the end of 2016, reports showed they were able to save up to 36% bandwidth by using VP9 encoding together with their video chunking approach. The momentum around upgrading to VP9 has since grown as the codec has garnered the interest of other enterprises and developers alike. In fact, with the highest installation rate amongst the codecs available on the market, it is currently the most relevant codec for online streaming. Here's why:

Huge install base

It’s already an adopted format by Chrome (naturally) and Firefox browsers with a huge install base on several low-end and high-end Android devices. Despite it's incompatibility with Safari, VP9 boasts support on almost 3 Billion devices - nearly double of HEVC's support on about 1.7 Billion devices. More details on this can be found here. With Apple's joining AOM, a possibility of an initial support for VP9 and later addition of AV1 support on Safari can't be ruled out.

High Quality Encoding Tools

With High Quality Encoding tool sets, VP9 delivers a low bandwidth streaming option suitable for an array of resolutions from mobile through 4K. Google claimed in 2015 that this codec actually cuts the size of the average video in half, which is important when it comes to enhancing user experience with lower bandwidths and higher resolutions. Google had earlier stated in their blog post that their vision is for every internet user to enjoy high-quality videos without having to wait a second for them to buffer. VP9 does put them one step closer to achieving that goal with it's incredible compression efficiency thereby enabling a size decrease of HD video to something that can be easily consumed on most internet connections. VP9 video codec is also engineered to get more efficient at larger resolutions than its predecessors making it a natural migration option for 4K services.

It’s free

Unlike other codecs that came before VP9, VP9 is open-source and it’s going to stay that way. Because it’s free to use, more and more developers are reviewing to incorporate it into their products, including some big names in the streaming video industry. Why would you pay for something when you can get a comparable quality codec that's proven and deployed for free?

Established Roadmap

VP9 is the predecessor to AV1 - AOM's next generation video codec that was released this week. While AV1 shows a lot of potential and promise, the reality is that it may be at least a few years away as far as hyperscale mass hardware deployments are concerned. Furthermore, the codec is highly complex and will take time for implementations to come about that have high quality real-time encoding with significant gains. In the meanwhile, VP9 fits in as the perfect option that's available today, with proven deployments and excellent video quality improvements all rolled in to one codec at an excellent price point.

 

Naturally, you can expect to see VP9 continue to grow in popularity as most developers begin to adopt it as their standard video codec. Considering that days’ worth of video is published to YouTube every minute, investing on improving compression and lowering the bandwidth needed for streaming content was a smart move from Google. The reduced size of video files for the same output quality delivered means that, even as 4K videos get added into the mix more often, everyone will get to enjoy pristine quality content with faster loading times and decreased buffering using this new codec. It's only a matter of time until this gets implemented on other mass online video platforms which choose to migrate to VP9 from existing H.264 codec to leverage on all the freebies that come with it.

 

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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 www.ngcodec.com/ces 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 https://ngcodec.com/ces 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

pr@ngcodec.com
 

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Why we are supporting VP9 (and AV1)

NGCodec has started to port our H.265/HEVC FPGA encoder to VP9. About ⅓ of our source code will not change (look ahead, rate control, adaptive quantization), ⅓ has minor changes, and ⅓ is new.

With the premium segment - led by Apple - now supporting H.265/HEVC, it is time content distributors leverage the massive user experience advantages of next generation compression (H.264/AVC was ratified back in 2003). Using ABR on congested networks an H.265/HEVC or VP9 stream can deliver HD whereas an H.264/AVC stream would be limited to SD. Of course this also saves bandwidth/CDN and storage costs.

The mass market segment lead by Google has decided not to support H.265/HEVC, but instead supports VP9. Despite lots of propaganda, VP9 can performs almost as well as H.265/HEVC (unlike most companies, we have built both encoders). So, post the 2003 H.264/AVC codec, both codecs will be required. Due to commercial and political reasons, both camps will not align around one next generation codec. In fact on a low cost Android phone priced under $100, it is impossble for the OEM to enable H.265/HEVC and have to pay royalties, since this would remove most of their profits. They will only enable VP9.

As of September 2017 here is the browser support for different video codecs on Desktop and Mobile as well as the estimated use by each.

Codec Browser support.png

Connected TVs (latest versions) also have a high level of next generation codec support:

Connected TV Decoder support.png

In fact the installed base for VP9 is currently almost 2x the size of H.265/HEVC given the market share of Chrome and Android. Also if you want YouTube in 4K today you have to support VP9.

We also expect desktop/laptops using Chrome, Firefox and Edge Browser to add software decoding of AV1 in 2018 with hardware decoding coming to mobile/tablets and connected TVs in 2019. (The Nightly version for Firefox already supports AV1). We are a member of AOM and will support AV1 in the future.

In summary, despite the extra complexity, we believe consumers will demand all three codecs: H.264/AVC for legacy old devices, H.265/HEVC for premium, and VP9 for mass market support. The use experience benefits of HD vs SD on congested networks are compelling. The installed base of 4K capable devices is also rapidly growing, meaning next generation codecs will have to be supported. NGCodec with its Cloud FPGA encoders can help you reduce costs as you move to next generation codecs.

Sources of Data:

Browser Video Codec support

Browser Market Share

1.4B PC/Laptop Installed Base

3B Mobile/Tablet Installed Base (page 8)

US Connected TV devices by Device

646M Worldwide Connected TV in 2016

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NGCodec Joins the Alliance for Open Media

SUNNYVALE, Calif., – July 12, 2017 – NGCodec® Inc., a startup company focused on FPGA-based video codec development, today announced it has joined the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), a non-profit effort to develop a new open and royalty-free video codec. As a member of the Alliance, NGCodec will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia video codec.

“Every day, YouTube viewers alone watch over a billion hours of online video,” said NGCodec CEO and Co-founder Oliver Gunasekara. “As an AOMedia member, NGCodec joins in the Alliance’s pursuit of an open and royalty-free next generation video codec. Combined with NGCodec’s 10x lower cost cloud encoding, AOMedia’s efforts will enable more customers to access high-quality, low-cost video that is optimized for Cloud delivery.”

The availability of AOMedia Video as an open source project is an important element in fulfilling the organization’s promise to deliver an open and royalty-free next generation video codec that is scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth.

"We’re pleased to welcome NGCodec to AOMedia, reflecting the growing importance of Cloud-based video encoding to achieve broad industry adoption," said AOMedia’s Executive Director Gabe Frost. "We look forward to NGCodec's contributions to this significant initiative, which will open the door to a new era of openness and interoperability for online video."

AOMedia’s Video 1 codec (AV1) is designed with a low computational footprint, optimized for hardware, and is capable of consistent, highest quality, real-time video delivery, making it flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.

 

About the Alliance for Open Media

The Alliance for Open Media is a project of the Joint Development Foundation, an independent non-profit organization that provides the corporate and legal infrastructure to enable groups to establish and operate standards and source code development collaborations. Launched in 2015, the Alliance for Open Media was formed to define and develop media technologies to address marketplace demand for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. For more information, visit http://aomedia.org/.

 

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 https://ngcodec.com or @NGCodec.

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