Nokia Makes the First-Ever 3D Spatial Audio Cell Phone Call

Nokia made what it claims is “the world’s first immersive voice and audio call” using cell phones, made possible by the new 3GPP Immersive Voice and Audio Services (IVAS) codec that lets consumers hear 3D spatial sound in real-time. The codec — which Nokia participated in crafting — is a major leap from today’s standard monophonic smartphone voice call experience and is part of the upcoming 5G Advanced standard. The innovation paves the way towards enhanced immersive spatial communications, extended reality and metaverse applications, says Nokia, explaining that it works across “any connected device,” including smartphones, tablets and PCs. Continue reading Nokia Makes the First-Ever 3D Spatial Audio Cell Phone Call

AMD Touts Advance in AV1 Encoding for Streaming Services

AMD is introducing a new encoder chip designed for energy efficient and economical AV1 video streaming. The AV1 codec is increasingly popular as streamers seek to meet massive bandwidth needs. AMD’s new card, the Alveo MA35D, delivers what promises to be a massive leap in throughput and compression over its predecessor. Compression performance is critical in today’s streaming market, where the model has changed from a one-to-many central server model to a cloud-based distributed many-to-many format as entertainment is vying for bandwidth with video conferences, massively multiplayer online games and social media streaming. Continue reading AMD Touts Advance in AV1 Encoding for Streaming Services

Apple Eyes AI Video Compression with WaveOne Acquisition

Apple has acquired WaveOne, a Mountain View-based startup that has been developing AI algorithms for video compression. Cupertino has been mum about the purchase, but the deal reportedly closed in January, and WaveOne employees are said to have been absorbed into Apple’s machine learning groups. WaveOne’s codecs use machine learning to squeeze more picture out of less bandwidth, including optimizing for signal interruptions, so the picture doesn’t freeze or disappear, making it ideal for mobile. As Netflix and YouTube tout picture improvements, WaveOne could potentially advantage Apple TV+ and a mixed reality headset. Continue reading Apple Eyes AI Video Compression with WaveOne Acquisition

Meta Adds New Creative Tools, Features for Facebook Reels

Meta Platforms announced today that it is introducing new creative tools and features for Facebook Reels, including support for videos of up to 90 seconds, extending the previous maximum of 60 seconds. The updates arrive a few months after the company unveiled support for Instagram Reels of the same duration (news that followed TikTok’s jump in video length from three to 10 minutes in an attempt to more directly take on Google’s YouTube). Among the new creative tools include the ability to create Reels with trending templates and a “Grooves” feature that automatically syncs video to the beat of a song. Continue reading Meta Adds New Creative Tools, Features for Facebook Reels

YouTube Testing ‘1080p Premium’ with Its Paid Subscribers

YouTube is experimenting with a higher bitrate 1080p format for Premium subscribers. The enhanced 1080p Premium reportedly provides a better viewing experience. For now, 1080p Premium is only available to a very small group. The existing 1080p HD resolution on YouTube remains unchanged, according to the company. “1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience,” explains spokesperson Paul Pennington, clarifying “there are no changes to the existing quality offerings for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube.” Continue reading YouTube Testing ‘1080p Premium’ with Its Paid Subscribers

Netflix Switching From VP9 Codec to the More Efficient AV1

With the claim that the new AV1 video codec much more efficiently compresses video, Netflix plans to introduce it to its Android app. Until now, Netflix has used the VP9 codec but says AV1 is 20 percent more efficient. The AV1 codec is already enabled for “selected titles” — although it didn’t name specifics — when the user activates the Save Data option. The company also stated it plans to introduce AV1 on all its platforms and is working with chip and device manufacturers to increase compatibility. Continue reading Netflix Switching From VP9 Codec to the More Efficient AV1

Netflix Creates Apps for Production, Doubles Down on Mobile

With a team of 30 to 35 people, Netflix is creating apps to streamline parts of the production process, such as crew management, scheduling and budgeting. One app, dubbed Move, has been in beta with a few Netflix productions since November. Move, which was built as a progressive web app, replaces all the paperwork related to scheduling shoot days and distributing the script, sending email and SMS to notify the crew of any schedule changes. It was first tested on the second season of “Glow,” and since used on 10 different shoots. Continue reading Netflix Creates Apps for Production, Doubles Down on Mobile

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

Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

Last week, Netflix opened the doors to downloaded content for offline viewing on mobile devices. Now, the company is describing some judicious technology adjustments it made to ensure viewers enjoy an improved video image, and that the resulting content doesn’t eat up the mobile device’s storage. The company did that by switching video codecs, although the result favors Android users, as well as improving its already-established method of varying data rates based on the needs of each scene in a movie or TV show. Continue reading Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

W3C to Host Workshop This Week on Web and Virtual Reality

WebVR development, VR content, 3D audio, user interfaces, codecs, file formats and standardization will be among the many topics addressed at this week’s W3C Workshop on Web & Virtual Reality (October 19-20) in San Jose, California. The goal “will be to establish the overall roadmap to standardization to make the Web a robust platform for Virtual Reality,” explains organizer Dominique Hazaël-Massieux. Through presentations and breakout sessions, the workshop plans “to bring together practitioners of Web and Virtual Reality technologies to make the Open Web Platform a better delivery mechanism for VR experiences,” notes the event page. Continue reading W3C to Host Workshop This Week on Web and Virtual Reality

Netflix Debuts Open Source Tools for IMF and Image Testing

Netflix has long collaborated with rivals, most notably on cloud computing open source projects. Now, it’s released “Meridian,” a 12-minute movie that acts as test footage to allow hardware manufacturers, codec developers and engineers to evaluate imagery. The company is also releasing open source tools to encourage the use of the Interoperable Master Format (IMF), developed as a standard by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers for exchanging master files between studios, distributors and services such as Netflix. Continue reading Netflix Debuts Open Source Tools for IMF and Image Testing

CES: Philips is Third Manufacturer to Unveil 4K Blu-ray Player

Philips has joined Panasonic and Samsung in announcing a 4K UHD Blu-ray player with support for high dynamic range. The BDP7501 offers upscaling for non-4K content and includes HDMI, Wi-Fi and Ethernet for connectivity. It also includes built-in support for HEVC and VP9 codecs, which should make it ideal for streaming 4K content from services such as Netflix and YouTube. What may set it apart from early competition, however, is its unique compact design, more akin to a set-top box than a standard disc player. The BDP7501 is expected to ship this spring for under $400. Continue reading CES: Philips is Third Manufacturer to Unveil 4K Blu-ray Player

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

MPEG LA Calls for Patents to Organize Joint DASH License

MPEG LA announced a call for patents for MPEG-DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP), to the dismay of many industry watchers. When MPEG-DASH first debuted in 2011, the issue of royalties wasn’t raised and DASH was quickly and widely deployed, in everything from browsers to smart TVs. The problem is that DASH is an integral part of HTML5, which is beginning to displace Flash. With the specter of patents looming, some software vendors could find royalties to be an obstacle to staying in business. Continue reading MPEG LA Calls for Patents to Organize Joint DASH License