Achieve Wireless Camera Control with your Bolt 4KDECEMBER 13, 2021
Doing some live streaming?
Then you’ve probably heard of HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and AVC (Advanced Video Coding). Both are internationally-accepted standards for encoding and decoding video. But their main difference? HEVC (H.265) provides the same video quality of AVC (H.264) at half the bitrate.
But how exactly does this actually translate to what your audience sees? We experimented with videos encoded in HEVC vs AVC to answer that question.
Test #1 Grinder Sparks
The true test of any video codec is compressing a video that has lots of movement. For our test, we’re using footage of flying sparks from a grinder.
At first, we streamed this video in 4K at 207 megabits per second. But it didn’t stream very well. So we’ll compress it down to a more streaming-friendly 7 megabits per second – squeezing the bitrate down to 3% of the original.
Now that we’ve identified the right bitrate, let’s compare these side-by-side stills of the HEVC and AVC. Pay particular attention to the large spark these frames are zoomed in on.
HEVC - 7 Mbps
AVC - 7 Mbps
Here, we see some loss of detail in AVC – especially in the gradient of the thick sparks. Now, let's raise the AVC bitrate and see what happens.
We had to crank up the bitrate to 21 Mbps to match the quality of the HEVC file. In this example, that's 3x the bitrate of the HEVC file. And what does more bitrate mean? More 'video bits' get uploaded per second, which means higher quality. But it also increases the file size and slows down export – which makes HEVC so appealing. You get the quality and the speed. Up next, we’ll use some sports footage with quick player movement.
Test #2 Sports Footage
Let’s look at a live stream of a soccer match, broadcast in 1080p at a limited cellular bandwidth of 3 megabits per second.
Then take a look at these zoomed side-by-side stills of the same footage when it’s streamed in AVC and HEVC. From the stills, the most obvious difference can be seen in the background items like the trees and the net.
Remember, movement is the clearest tell. To get the full picture, here are the still frames from the AVC and HEVC streams. You’ll notice in the HEVC, the still is visibly smoother, and doesn’t appear as choppy as the AVC. This is extremly helpful when your footage is capturing a lot of movement and action.
HEVC offers plenty of advantages. You can:
- Share higher quality video files
- Spend less time to upload + download
- Take up less space on devices
- Perform better in challenging bandwidth situations At the time of this writing, most on-demand and live streaming platforms do not support native HEVC ingest and/or playback. It needs to be transcoded to standard AVC. The quality benefits of having the video source be HEVC will still be evident, though.
If you’re using AVC, remember: AVC is required for RTMP and is essentially the de facto choice for encoding.
At the time of this writing, most on-demand and live streaming platforms do not support native HEVC ingest and/or playback. It needs to be transcoded to standard AVC. The quality benefits of having the video source be HEVC will still be evident, though.
And when streaming RTMP(S), only send what you need. Over-streaming a 1080p stream only loads your network. In the market for a hardware encoder?
Find the right encoder solution for you
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