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Ericsson launches first HEVC encoder for mobile

Ericsson has launched a new HEVC encoder for mobile applications that will be shown for the first time at IBC.

According to Ericsson, the platforms will provide a bandwidth saiving of up to 50% on existing encoders. The company says the SVP 5500 HEVC encoder is the world’s first HeVC/H.265 encoder for live and linear TV delivery over mobile networks.

“It addresses the challenges in mobile to give twice the performance of H.264 in compression,” said Giles Wilson, head of TV compression business at Ericsson. He said the platform had been designed to support formats from very low-res video up to HD and various adaptive bit-rate formats including MPEG DASH. “It comes with traditional systems infrastructure for 24/7 operations,” said Wilson.

A final draft of the HEVC standard was released in July. Wilson said that only minor editorial changes are expected from now on, enabling Ericsson to develop a hardware platform. “This is the stage in the product cycle we would have launched in H264,” he said.

Wilson said that Ericsson believed mobile operators will drive adoption of HEVC as they have the market power to drive developments in the consumer electronics and receiver business and because they are suffering from an impending bandwidth crunch thanks to the popularity of mobile video. “The mobile solution addressed real world applications,” he said. “This is why we have chosen to focus on mobile.” Ericsson is also a major mobile network infrastructure supplier.

Wilson said that in the future mobile networks would be primarily about broadband rather than voice, with data accounting for the vast majority of traffic and an expected tenfold increase in traffic over the next five years. Video represents about 30-40% of traffic to mobile-enabled devices, he said.

“There is a huge demand for those video services over mobile networks,” said Wilson. Mobile network bandwidth is expensive so there is a huge challenge to be addressed. “If we deploy HEVC-based encoding technology we can address that challenge,” he said.

While HEVC would be important for other applications including OTT video and 4K ultra high-definition TV, mobile is where it would have immediate relevance, said Wilson.

Wilson said that adaptive bit-rate encoding was crucial for the mobile market. “We do view MPEG DASH as being important moving forward. The standards based approach is particularly appealing to the mobile operators,” he said.

Wilson said that Ericsson’s last Consumer Labs survey showed a move back to consuming content live and away from on-demand, thanks to the pervasiveness of information on social networks and the internet. “You can’t record a match and watch it later without knowing the result already,” he said. However, consumer lifestyles meant people were not necessarily at home in front of the TV when watching that content, so demand for live events on mobile networks would be significant.

Wilson said other applications would be important going forwards. “We’re big believers that 4K broadcasting will necessitate the use of HEVC. However, there are lots of pieces that need to fall in place, especially around live production and sports,” he said. “We still see it as being some time before production solutions are ready for 4K.”

Ericsson will be exhibiting at IBC on stand 1.D61

Tags: Ericsson, IBC