Beamr Promises Reduced 4K Stream Requirements

By Norbert Hildebrand
Beamr compression
subscribe

When it comes to 4k/UHD displays, nobody argues about clearer and more impressive imagery. In today’s market, native UHD content is typically only available through online streaming, as there is no physical media available yet. Besides upscaling of FHD or even lower resolution content, streaming of compressed video content is the only native UHD source available to consumers.

According to Beamr, its video optimization process will allow streamed UHD content to require less bandwidth when compared to existing codecs such as HEVC (H.265) or VP9. The Beamr optimization claims significant compression as shown in the image below.

Source: Beamr

For download services, Beamr claims a 40 – 50% reduction in connectivity bandwidth. For 4k this would mean that the connectivity requirements decrease from around 20 Mbps to around 10 Mbps. This would allow for many more households to be able to receive such UHD video streams. Beamr says that the 20 Mbps requirement reduces the potential viewing households to 19% of all households in the US and only 12% worldwide.

The performance of the Beamr solution depends on content, resolution, bitrate and the encoder used in the first stage of encoding by the content provider. Beamr stated that its solution analyzes the encoded file after the initial H.264 or HEVC encoding, and then re-encodes the video to a lower bitrate while preserving its quality. This second encoding is applied before DRM measures are applied. Beamr claims this bandwidth reduction is true for all types of video streaming from the lowest to the highest resolution. The solution for 4k video streams will be available in the second quarter of 2015.

The Beamr solution is backend only and outputs fully standard H.264 or HEVC streams, which can be played by any streaming player, software or device. There is no additional software needed to install on the viewer’s device. The only difference is the lower bitrate requirement. Its optimization of a 1080p video stream takes as long as the length of the video on a powerful computer.

Beamr Video works on a single video stream at a time. If you have dual streams for 3D content for example, you can use Beamr Video on each one, but the company said that it hasn’t tested this workflow yet.

So far the company claims Sony/Crackle, M-GO and Interlude as its customers. Beamr added that it has other customers, but is not allowed to disclose their names. – NH