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Intel has updated the functions in two tools to help video codec developmentIntel-vpa-2016
and validation teams test codec robustness, and improve decoders and
encoders for cloud-based transcoding.

Intel Updates Tools to Analyze, Debug and Improve Video Codecs

Intelhas updated the functions in two sets of tools to help video codec development and validation teams test codec robustness more easily, and improve decoders and encoders for cloud-based transcoding systems and video conferencing.
Intel VPA Dual View Mode: Stream on the left encoded with 2.5Mbps bitrate, and with 2.0 Mbps on the right. By pressing the delta button, all identical predictions are greyed out, and differing parameters are coloured.

TheIntel Video Pro Analyzer 2016, VPA, is video analysis software for current and upcoming video coding standards, used to inspect, test and debug the entire decoding and encoding process and analyze streams for HEVC, VP9, AVC and MPEG-2 – either using side-by-side comparisons or analyzing broken streams.

Because bandwidth is a major cost to network streaming and infrastructure, the use of new codecs such as HEVC and VP9 are important elements of real-time and OTT video streaming, content delivery, broadcast and advertising. HDR video and BT2020 support means developers can also plan ahead for UHD content. To visualize streams, graphical views are available, such as heat maps, syntax element, splits, motion vectors and reference frames, with statistics extraction.

When working on standard-compliant products - 4K or HD wireless display, broadcast to home screen or mobile device, or web streaming systems and applications - using VPA to develop, research or enhance video codecs may help save time and money. Support is available for Windows, Linux and OS X systems.

Once a bitstream is loaded, users can inspect each step of the decode and encode process visually and numerically, and explore the structure of the coded image.

Intel’s improvements to the 2016 VPA includeHEVC error resilience. Non-compliant and broken HEVC streams are now easier to handle, and error reporting is more effective. Users also have the means to debug streams encoded with the HEVC Screen Content Coding, or SCC, extension, which is a set of optimizations for cloud-based applications. SCC allows developers to improve encoding compression over traditional encoders for content captured from remote desktop and presentations during video conferencing.

Full stream HEVC and AVC statistics, in dual view and control modes, now show detailed comparisons of two bitstreams, highlighting the matching and different values. The validation process carries out both visual and automated regression checking, ongoing as you update products.

Intel Stress Bitstreams and Encoder 2016 - Validation Environment for HEVC and VP9 Decoders

Developers creating VP9 and HEVC decoders, transcoders, players and streaming devices need to be able to meet media industry compliance standards. Whether their products target communications infrastructure, cloud video streaming, media broadcasting, surveillance or other streaming applications, fast test cycles toward compliance save time and money, and benefit the development process itself.

TheIntel Stress Bitstreams and Encoderperforms enterprise grade, production-scale media validation and debug for such devices, checking for robustness and compliance. Users can create custom bitstreams for testing and optimize the stream base for coverage and efficiency according to usage.

Intel’s advanced entropy model is designed to create unusual combinations of syntax elements to push the limits of compliance bitstreams.

Intel notes that the use and development in data centre and cloud systems are growing very rapidly, and estimates that much of the growth is driven by consumer demands for video content. Among consumer expectations areHD and UHD/4K viewinganytime, anywhere and on any device - for live, on-demand or OTT video streaming. As a developer of media-accelerated hardware and software for digital services, Intel says they also support a strategy to transition to HEVC for better performance, efficiency and quality, helping to alleviate bandwidth constraints.
Intel stress bitstreams are designed to confuse decoders. Above, compute complexity caused by special coding elements choices looks chaotic but they are legal and produce perfectly correct results . These coding element details are visualized with the Intel Video Pro Analyzer.

By releasing new video analysis capabilities in their Stress Bitstreams and Encoder 2016 R2, Intel aims to make the job of video codec development and validation teams easier and more efficient.HEVC Error Resiliencestreams have been added to test decoders’ ability to support non-compliant or invalid streams. This means you can access streams to test your decoder for managing broken HEVC content, and generate custom streams via the Random Encoder to validate for further robustness. There are also new Stress streams for performance and memory bandwidth, VP9 smoke test streams, and encoder extensions to support HEVC profiles up to4:4:4 12-bitsoftware.intel.com