Author: Christian Timmerer, email@example.com
Affiliation: Alpen-Adria-Universität (AAU) Klagenfurt, Austria & Bitmovin Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA
The original blog post can be found at the Bitmovin Techblog and has been modified/updated here to focus on and highlight research aspects.
The 133rd MPEG meeting was once again held as an online meeting, and this time, kicked off with great news, that MPEG is one of the organizations honored as a 72nd Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Awards Recipient, specifically the MPEG Systems File Format Subgroup and its ISO Base Media File Format (ISOBMFF) et al.
The official press release can be found here and comprises the following items:
- 6th Emmy® Award for MPEG Technology: MPEG Systems File Format Subgroup wins Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award
- Essential Video Coding (EVC) verification test finalized
- MPEG issues a Call for Evidence on Video Coding for Machines
- Neural Network Compression for Multimedia Applications – MPEG calls for technologies for incremental coding of neural networks
- MPEG Systems reaches the first milestone for supporting Versatile Video Coding (VVC) and Essential Video Coding (EVC) in the Common Media Application Format (CMAF)
- MPEG Systems continuously enhances Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH)
- MPEG Systems reached the first milestone to carry event messages in tracks of the ISO Base Media File Format
In this report, I’d like to focus on ISOBMFF, EVC, CMAF, and DASH.
MPEG Systems File Format Subgroup wins Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award
MPEG is pleased to report that the File Format subgroup of MPEG Systems is being recognized this year by the National Academy for Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) with a Technology & Engineering Emmy® for their 20 years of work on the ISO Base Media File Format (ISOBMFF). This format was first standardized in 1999 as part of the MPEG-4 Systems specification and is now in its 6th edition as ISO/IEC 14496-12. It has been used and adopted by many other specifications, e.g.:
- MP4 and 3GP file formats;
- Carriage of NAL unit structured video in the ISO Base Media File Format which provides support for AVC, HEVC, VVC, EVC, and probably soon LCEVC;
- MPEG-21 file format;
- Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) and Common Media Application Format (CMAF);
- High-Efficiency Image Format (HEIF);
- Timed text and other visual overlays in ISOBMFF;
- Common encryption format;
- Carriage of timed metadata metrics of media;
- Derived visual tracks;
- Event message track format;
- Carriage of uncompressed video;
- Omnidirectional Media Format (OMAF);
- Carriage of visual volumetric video-based coding data;
- Carriage of geometry-based point cloud compression data;
- … to be continued!
This is MPEG’s fourth Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award (after MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 together with JPEG in 1996, Advanced Video Coding (AVC) in 2008, and MPEG-2 Transport Stream in 2013) and sixth overall Emmy® Award including the Primetime Engineering Emmy® Awards for Advanced Video Coding (AVC) High Profile in 2008 and High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) in 2017, respectively.
Essential Video Coding (EVC) verification test finalized
At the 133rd MPEG meeting, a verification testing assessment of the Essential Video Coding (EVC) standard was completed. The first part of the EVC verification test using high dynamic range (HDR) and wide color gamut (WCG) was completed at the 132nd MPEG meeting. A subjective quality evaluation was conducted comparing the EVC Main profile to the HEVC Main 10 profile and the EVC Baseline profile to AVC High 10 profile, respectively:
- Analysis of the subjective test results showed that the average bitrate savings for EVC Main profile are approximately 40% compared to HEVC Main 10 profile, using UHD and HD SDR content encoded in both random access and low delay configurations.
- The average bitrate savings for the EVC Baseline profile compared to the AVC High 10 profile is approximately 40% using UHD SDR content encoded in the random-access configuration and approximately 35% using HD SDR content encoded in the low delay configuration.
- Verification test results using HDR content had shown average bitrate savings for EVC Main profile of approximately 35% compared to HEVC Main 10 profile.
By providing significantly improved compression efficiency compared to HEVC and earlier video coding standards while encouraging the timely publication of licensing terms, the MPEG-5 EVC standard is expected to meet the market needs of emerging delivery protocols and networks, such as 5G, enabling the delivery of high-quality video services to an ever-growing audience.
In addition to verification tests, EVC, along with VVC and CMAF were subject to further improvements to their support systems.
Research aspects: as for every new video codec, its compression efficiency and computational complexity are important performance metrics. Additionally, the availability of (efficient) open-source implementations (i.e., x264, x265, soon x266, VVenC, aomenc, et al., etc.) are vital for its adoption in the (academic) research community.
MPEG Systems reaches the first milestone for supporting Versatile Video Coding (VVC) and Essential Video Coding (EVC) in the Common Media Application Format (CMAF)
At the 133rd MPEG meeting, MPEG Systems promoted Amendment 2 of the Common Media Application Format (CMAF) to Committee Draft Amendment (CDAM) status, the first major milestone in the ISO/IEC approval process. This amendment defines:
- constraints to (i) Versatile Video Coding (VVC) and (ii) Essential Video Coding (EVC) video elementary streams when carried in a CMAF video track;
- codec parameters to be used for CMAF switching sets with VVC and EVC tracks; and
- support of the newly introduced MPEG-H 3D Audio profile.
It is expected to reach its final milestone in early 2022. For research aspects related to CMAF, the reader is referred to the next section about DASH.
MPEG Systems continuously enhances Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH)
At the 133rd MPEG meeting, MPEG Systems promoted Part 8 of Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) also referred to as “Session-based DASH” to its final stage of standardization (i.e., Final Draft International Standard (FDIS)).
Historically, in DASH, every client uses the same Media Presentation Description (MPD), as it best serves the scalability of the service. However, there have been increasing requests from the industry to enable customized manifests for enabling personalized services. MPEG Systems has standardized a solution to this problem without sacrificing scalability. Session-based DASH adds a mechanism to the MPD to refer to another document, called Session-based Description (SBD), which allows per-session information. The DASH client can use this information (i.e., variables and their values) provided in the SBD to derive the URLs for HTTP GET requests.
An updated overview of DASH standards/features can be found in the Figure below.
Research aspects: CMAF is mostly like becoming the main segment format to be used in the context of HTTP adaptive streaming (HAS) and, thus, also DASH (hence also the name common media application format). Supporting a plethora of media coding formats will inevitably result in a multi-codec dilemma to be addressed in the near future as there will be no flag day where everyone will switch to a new coding format. Thus, designing efficient bitrate ladders for multi-codec delivery will an interesting research aspect, which needs to include device/player support (i.e., some devices/player will support only a subset of available codecs), storage capacity/costs within the cloud as well as within the delivery network, and network distribution capacity/costs (i.e., CDN costs).