Should Netflix Use illumin8 to Save Bandwidth?
If 18-wheelers accounted for an entire one-third of traffic during your city’s rush hour you’d likely see a spike in road rage. In a similar situation, Netflix utilizes one-third of all Internet traffic during peak evening hours in the United States. Yet in a bid to be more efficient and execute its strategy to expand worldwide by the end of 2016, the Netflix re-encoding team has been successful reducing the size of its HD video files while maintaining the video quality.
Netflix is currently rolling out a new ‘per-title encoding’ method across its entire 1 petabyte (PB) digital library (1 PB is equal to 1 million gigabytes). How does it work? ‘[We] run analysis on an individual title to determine the optimal encoding recipe based on its complexity,’ the Netflix re-encoding team said on its tech blog. ‘Imagine having very involved action scenes that need more bits to encapsulate the information versus unchanging landscape scenes or animation that need less.’
Netflix explains that ‘[Per-title encoding] allows us to deliver the same or better experience while using less bandwidth, which will be particularly important in lower bandwidth countries and as we expand to places where video viewing often happens on mobile networks.’ With the recent announcement, at CES 2016, that Netflix had expanded from 60 to 190 countries, the challenges have become even more significant.
The per-title method might work. However, things will get more complex with their expansion and as they face greater challenges, such as dealing with 4K, higher frame rates and high dynamic range (HDR).
Could there possibly be a better solution? Let’s see.
Netflix Re Encoding vs. MindAptiv illumin8 Technology: Two Video Quality Tests
The Netflix re-encoding team recently had its employees watch two TVs showing the same TV show and guess which one was streaming the original file (5800 kbps) and which one was using a new file (4640 kbps) that saves 20 percent more bandwidth for HD movie files, according to a recent article in Variety.
Can you guess what happened? Yep, they couldn’t tell the difference.
At MindAptiv, we play this game, too, with our illumin8 technology. On one screen we’ll show a video in original 4K. On the other screen we’ll show the same video from a 75 percent smaller HD 1080p file, which instantly converts to 4K or better quality.
Can you guess what happens? Not only can they tell the difference, they choose the video from the smaller file for providing higher-quality images – 100 percent of the time.
While Netflix only gets 20 percent savings to provide an HD quality movie, illumin8 achieves a 75 percent savings in bandwidth to deliver a 4K viewing experience from an HD source file. And the data will be reduced even more once we apply compression techniques and further refine our upsample approach.
Sound impossible? It’s not. See a demo of illumin8 in action..