VVC demo shows 8K video compression

VVC demo shows 8K video compression

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in Germany have demonstrated encoding and decoding of ultra high resolution 8K video with the latest VVC H.266 compression technology.

8K is being used in Japan this for various events at the Tokyo Olympics with a broadcast on a dedicated satellite channel by NHK.

The 3IT Innovation Centre for Immersive Imaging Technologies, part of Fraunhofer HHI in Germany, worked with Spin Digital on the 8K demonstration using Versatile Video Codec (VVC). This technology should eventually achieve a 50 percent bit rate reduction over HEVC/H.265 for similar quality and the current demonstration already showed similar quality with a 25 Mbit/s bit stream as a 50 Mbit/s HEVC version.

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For the demo, some 8K content from Berlin was first captured by HHI and Interdigital using a RED DSMC2 8K camera. This uses a Helium 8K S35  35.4 Megapixel CMOS Sensor that measures 29.90 mm x 15.77 mm and records the video at 60 frame/s at a resolution of 7680×4320.

From RED raw format, InterDigital generated the HDR10 version using an internal tone mapping process with the output in YUV 4:2:0 10-bit

The finished content was then encoded by a VVC encoder and an open source H.265 encoder generating a 50Mbit/s stream for the comparison.

 The VVenC encoder is an HHI-optimized encoder based on the VTM reference software. This adds features like multi-threading, and subjective optimization based on the xPSNR model also developed at HHI.  A medium preset was selected for the VVC encode with a 25 Mbit/s bit rate.

In most encoding/decoding demonstrations, the decoded content is formatted as a YUV signal that can be converted into a feed for a TV. Spin Digital has developed a PC-based 8K decoder/player that works in real-time to decode the VVC bitstream on a 24 core Intel processor, which is then rendered into 8K/60p content in HDR by an internal media player. The output is then sent to the 8K Sony Z8H TV over a single HDMI 2.1 cable.

The VVC decode requires 2-3X more compute than HEVC, but this is easily obtainable with available 24 core CPU and GPU hardware. Realtime decoding and playback of 8K content at 120 frame/s is possible with a 64 core processor.

An open-source VVC decoder (VVdeC) is also available from HHI online. It does not perform entirely as well as the Spin Digital one and is suitable for HD or UHD content decoding. HHI is also working on a player that can take the decoded content, package it into an mp4 container, and process it to streaming apps like HLS or DASH.

Spin Digital evaluated both encodes and determined that the quality of both versions was quite similar, with the VVC encode requiring half the data rate.  VVC produces better quality in some sequences, such as sky or water textures. The encoder also showed superior subjective quality compared to the reference VVC encoder.

VVC can support more than just 8K content as it is also designed to encode 360-degree content and offers spatial scalability with the ability to add layers of images to build up high-resolution frames).

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