Thursday, May 26, 2011

Introducing 3D WebM Support with NVIDIA 3D Vision

Today's guest post is from Alok Ahuja, who is Technical Lead for 3D Vision at NVIDIA.

Spearheaded by Hollywood, there has been growing interest in the past year to provide immersive 3D movie-viewing experiences on the web. At the same time, the number and quality of 3D-capable video camcorders on the market is growing fast, resulting in more 3D content creation.  In parallel, adoption of WebM video in HTML5 has also increased. For NVIDIA, these trends highlighted the need for a solution that would enable users to watch 3D WebM videos on the web.

Today, we're happy to announce that users can enjoy 3D WebM videos on NVIDIA 3D Vision™ enabled desktop and notebooks PC. We're achieved 3D WebM support by adding stereo flags to the WebM file container, which is a subset of Matroska's stereo 3D support. You can encode 3D WebM videos using the sample VP8 encoder or FFmpeg.

NVIDIA collaborated with Mozilla to enable 3D WebM playback in HTML5 <video> in Firefox 4. Now, you can use a standard HTML5 video player to watch 3D content using NVIDIA 3D Vision PC, or even on your HDMI 1.4 3D TVs with NVIDIA 3DTV Play™ software. We've also worked closely with YouTube to support WebM versions of YouTube 3D videos. Starting today, if you select the HTML5 3D viewing option on YouTube, most of the 3D videos that play in Firefox 4 will be WebM. You can also serve these videos on your website. For example, a YouTube 3D feed is available on NVIDIA's 3D Vision streaming website,

3D video production is poised to expand much more rapidly and with it the need arises for a robust ecosystem for 3D content encoding and high-quality playback. We're excited to be a part of this ecosystem through our support for 3D WebM.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Next Wave of WebP Improvements Announced

Congratulations to the WebP developers! Announced today on the Chromium Blog: WebP improvements in compression, playback, tools, quality, application support and more. Read the post.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Technical Details of the Blueberry Release

The following text assumes the reader has prior knowledge about video codecs and hardware designs.

We reached the aforementioned +0.82 dB PSNR gains by adding the following features to the encoder:
  • Improved encoding decisions and added more coding options at macroblock level
  • Enabled multiple motion vectors per macroblock (Split MV mode)
  • Added preference of “nearest”, “near” and “zero” type macroblocks that are less expensive to code than others
  • Added support for up to two reference frames in motion search (immediately previous and Golden frame)
  • Added deblocking filter macroblock mode adaptivity support
  • Added ¼ pixel precision motion estimation at 1080p resolution (previously supported only up to 720p)
  • Increased the amount of token probability tracking counters (enables more efficient entropy coding)
In addition, we added support for a programmable segment map, which enables psychovisual quality optimizations and defining region-of-interests. This means we can for example code the foreground objects (i.e. people) with a better quality (smaller quantizer) than the static background. We also added new hooks to the hardware that allows us to improve the quality of the encoder by later firmware upgrades that optmize our cost function algorithms - even after the chip has been manufactured.
Read more »

“Blueberry” VP8 Hardware Encoder IP Released

"Blueberry," the second release of the H1 VP8 hardware encoder, is now available through the WebM Project hardware page. Due to the short growing season and abundant light during the summer, Nordic blueberries are exceptionally sweet and rich with vitamins. The Blueberry encoder is not too bad either!

In Blueberry we focused primarily on improving the encoder for video calling use, as many of the semiconductor companies that have licensed the H1 encoder plan to use it in these use cases. Compared to Anthill, the average measured PSNR improvement was 0.82 dB, while SSIM figures were improved by 0.011. This is also shown in the following chart for 720p video call content, where Blueberry achieves the same quality as Anthill with 25% less bits!

In the next release, we plan to further improve the compression rate at the low bitrate range, as well as focus on new features such as two-pass encoding and visual optimization using segmentation maps. The third release is planned to be available at the end of Q2 2011.

The H1 IP has been licensed already to over twenty semiconductor companies, and we are looking forward to sharing the technology with new partners.

For licensing details about the H1, see our hardware page. For those interested in technical details, please keep reading here.

Aki Kuusela is Engineering Manager of the WebM Project hardware team in Oulu, Finland.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Convert to HTML5 and WebM with Zencoder

Today's guest post is from Jon Dahl, CEO and co-founder of Zencoder.

Zencoder is a cloud service for video encoding. Through a simple API, we provide high-performance, high-quality video encoding for web and mobile, at any scale, small or large. Our customers range from broadcast media to online video publishers to UGC websites.

At Zencoder, we encourage our content publishers to support HTML5 video. Though HTML5 video is relatively new, it's now playable by more than 50% of Internet users, and that number is growing quickly.

We are committed to open technology and believe that WebM is the way forward for open video. Our open-source HTML 5 video player, VideoJS, makes it easy to play WebM content in web browsers and mobile devices--but WebM encoding is needed too.

That's why, starting today, Zencoder is offering promotional pricing on WebM encoding. Until June 5th, 2011, all WebM encoding will be billed at 50% off of our published prices ($0.02-$0.05 per minute of video).

We also want to make it easy for publishers to convert large content collections to WebM, so we're also launching a new batch video encoder. This service makes it easy to transcode entire content libraries to WebM, but also to HD or for HTTP adaptive streaming.

In the coming year, more publishers will want to offer WebM support, and we hope Zencoder can help them make a seamless entry into the world of open video.