MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

Waiting for a video to buffer may become an annoyance of the past. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are working on streaming algorithms that use AI to improve load rates and, thus, reduce buffering. Dubbed Pensieve, the new technology relies on machine learning to navigate the often-chaotic and ever-changing conditions of networks in real-time, based on a system of rewards (when the video loads smoothly) and penalties (when it’s interrupted). Meanwhile, Netflix is working on its own AI solution to address buffering. Continue reading MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

Hulu Is Latest SVOD Service to Back AOMedia Video Codec

Hulu has joined the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) to help promote the AV1 AOMedia Video codec. The alliance’s video compression standard “strives to deliver improved compression efficiency over the current cutting-edge video compression standards HEVC/H.265 and VP9, in addition to providing the industry with an open source, royalty-free, interoperable video format,” wrote Hulu CTO Tian Lim. “Hulu joins other streaming media industry leaders in pursuit of a common goal — to accelerate development and facilitate friction-free adoption of new media technologies that benefit the streaming media industry and our viewers.” Continue reading Hulu Is Latest SVOD Service to Back AOMedia Video Codec

Netflix Develops AI to Help Optimize Video for Mobile Devices

Netflix needed a way to improve video streaming quality for consumers in emerging economies watching movies and TV shows on the go. The company came up with a new method for video encoding called Dynamic Optimizer that reduces the amount of data in the video file without losing image quality. The Netflix team trained an AI to compress the video specifically based on the complexity of a given scene. The Dynamic Optimizer system expected to roll out in the coming months. Continue reading Netflix Develops AI to Help Optimize Video for Mobile Devices

HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Yesterday during the HPA Tech Retreat, NEC Corporation executive engineer Dr. Masayuki Sugawara, who chairs the digital broadcasting experts group (DiBEG) and is vice president of the Institute of Image Information and Television Engineers (ITE), described the world’s first 8K regular broadcast. In Japan, the broadcast starts at 10:00 am and is transmitted all over the country for seven hours via satellite. “It’s in the test phase, aimed at moving to a commercial phase next year,” said Sugawara, who notes that NHK had its first public demonstration of 8K in 2002.
Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Scalable Graphics to Feature Wireless KwikVR System at CES

At CES 2017, Scalable Graphics, which specializes in GPU-accelerated cloud computing, is set to introduce a wireless PC solution for virtual reality that is compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets. The company’s one-pound KwikVR is a wireless compression and transmission system that cuts the cord between the VR headset and the computer powering it. Wireless VR and other hardware upgrades or peripherals that make VR experiences better are likely to be trends at CES 2017. Continue reading Scalable Graphics to Feature Wireless KwikVR System at CES

Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

In 2012, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and computer chip researcher Doug Burger believed they had found the future of computing: chips that could be programmed for specific tasks, dubbed field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Project Catapult, as it was called, was intended to shift the underlying technology of all Microsoft servers in that direction. FPGAs now form the basis of Bing. Soon, the specialized chips will be capable of artificial intelligence at a tremendous speed — 23 milliseconds versus four seconds. Continue reading Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

Latest Chips from Intel Designed for Playing 4K Video on PCs

Intel just debuted its seventh generation of PC chips, featuring a built-in ability to play and edit Ultra HD and 4K video. The chips reflect the fact that an increasing number of younger consumers use portable computers as their go-to device for viewing video content. Although Netflix, most notably among others, has created 4K video programs, consumers have been limited in their ability to see it in its native resolution. The new chips accommodate both HEVC and VP9 compression and support copyright protection software. Continue reading Latest Chips from Intel Designed for Playing 4K Video on PCs

Microsoft Demos Live 3D Holoportation System via HoloLens

Microsoft researchers from the U.K. created a holoportation system, which projects a live 3D hologram of a person into another room, anywhere in the world, where it can interact in real-time with whoever is present. The researchers, who focus on 3D sensors and machine learning, spent two-and-a-half years with the HoloLens team in Washington state to develop holoportation. The system requires a lot of horsepower and high-quality 3D capture cameras, as well as a HoloLens (or other VR/AR headset) on the receiving end. Continue reading Microsoft Demos Live 3D Holoportation System via HoloLens

Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Varun Nair of Two Big Ears Ltd. and Jean-Pascal (JP) Beaudoin of Headspace Studio gave an excellent primer on “Audio for Cinematic VR” at this week’s GDC VR Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Beaudoin started by making two overarching points: the sense of presence in VR is proportional to the amount of immersion, and it is important to understand the Field of Audition (FoA – the sound space). The session also addressed three key types of sound space designs: diegetic audio, acousmatic audio and non-diegetic audio. Continue reading Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

The prospects of 4K video have brightened. That’s because the HEVC Advance group that licenses the H.265/HEVC video format enabling 4K’s higher data rate to traverse through existing pipes just adjusted its royalty rates. Up until now, the group wanted steep rates, even from free outlets, and without a cap. With the new, revamped licensing scheme, HEVC Advance not only cuts rates in half but sets a yearly cap between $2.5 million to $40 million per year, depending on the service or device type. Continue reading Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

High dynamic range is lauded for its more vivid colors and life-like imagery. Initially introduced by TV set manufacturers, an increasing number of gear manufacturers have introduced HDR capabilities and SMPTE just released standard specifications. But implementing HDR into production, post production and distribution can also create problems that degrade the image, with artifacts and banding. Several experts talked about the challenges in implementing HDR, and the potential solutions to them. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

Google Ups the Ante with VP10 Compression, to Beat H.265

Media today requires more bandwidth, and that means more efficient compression. Ultra HD or 4K, wider gamut for more color choices, and HDR (high dynamic range) all require a bigger pipe and better compression. Same goes for HFR (high frame rate) — anything above 30 fps, for movies and games — and of course all that video streaming that everyone is doing. Up until now, H.264 has been the leading contender, but now Google is pushing its VP9 technology hard to play catch-up. H.265 and VP10 are just over the horizon. Continue reading Google Ups the Ante with VP10 Compression, to Beat H.265

New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

As a follow-up to its original $700 4K media player, Sony has announced a new model, the FMP-X10, that will provide access to Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K download library and be able to stream 4K Netflix content. The new player, available this summer, will be compatible with Sony Ultra HD sets and include 1 terabyte of storage. A price has yet to be announced. Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K library currently features more than 200 titles (45GB-60GB files), about 50 of which are available for free. Continue reading New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

Legendary musician Neil Young, the featured speaker on the eve of South by Southwest Music, introduced PonoMusic, his new high resolution audio ecosystem, to a capacity crowd in Austin, Texas. Only four hours earlier, he launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than 50 percent of its fundraising goal before he appeared onstage. The mission of PonoMusic is to bring the highest-quality music to discerning consumers who want to experience music the way the artists intended. Continue reading SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

UHD: Execs Debate Production, Distribution, Adoption at CES

As expected, Ultra HD was a hot topic at the 2014 International CES, with plenty of support as well as debate. While some have asserted that UHD is inevitable at this point, others have suggested that success will be reliant upon the right combination of multiple factors including 4K set penetration, an efficient delivery infrastructure and the availability of content. Industry leaders addressed these topics and more during compelling panel discussions in Las Vegas. Continue reading UHD: Execs Debate Production, Distribution, Adoption at CES

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