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Development of a real-time 4K-HEVC software compression technology complying with the latest video compression standard HEVC

2014/06

Overview

Toshiba has developed real-time 4K (Note 1)-HEVC (Note 2) software compression technology complying with the latest video compression standard HEVC, which is highly expected to be used for next-generation, ultra-high-definition video distribution services.

(Note 1) Supports 3840×2160 pixel 60 fps.

(Note 2) Abbreviation for High Efficiency Video Coding. Official name: ITU-T H.265, ISO/IEC 23008-2.

Development background

Television screens have become increasingly large in recent years, and 4K TVs, whose pixel density is four times that of conventional models, have started to go on the market. The current 4K TVs convert HDTV resolution images into 4K images through image processing. However, in order for viewers to benefit from a truly immersive viewing experience with ultra-high-definition 4K TVs, an ultra-high-definition video distribution service, which delivers 4K images to TVs as they are, is needed. The latest video compression standard HEVC can halve the volume of image data compared with the former standard AVC (Note 3) and more are adopting this standard for 4K or 8K (Note 4) ultra-high-definition video distribution services. Video compression by HEVC requires a large amount of calculation because an optimum parameter must be determined for each block (an image of a video sequence is divided into small blocks) from a large number of compression parameter combinations. Furthermore, an efficient encoding method needs to be developed for 4K images because they provide four times as much detail as HDTV images.

(Note 3) Abbreviation for Advanced Video Coding. Official name: ITU-T H.264, ISO/IEC 14496-10.

(Note 4) 7680×4320 pixels

Real-time 4K-HEVC software compression technology

In order to expand ultra-high-definition video distribution services, Toshiba has developed software-based real-time 4K-HEVC compression technology which can be executed on common PC servers. This technology is based on Toshiba’s unique image analysis technology for analyzing temporal and spatial properties images. The technology adaptively selects the best combination from a large number of compression parameters and reduces the amount of calculation while maintaining high image quality. Furthermore, we introduced parallel processing technology to divide a 4K image (60 frames per second) in the space and time domain and developed our proprietary technology for improving the efficiency of parallel processing to control variations in the processing time, thus enabling us to realize real-time processing. In the past, dedicated hardware was required to compress 4K images, but our technology enables users to compress high-quality images in real time using just two high performance PC servers. The service can be integrated into the present cloud system and can support images of various resolutions including HDTV as well as 4K and 8K ultra-high-definition images. It can also respond flexibly to demands unique to video distribution services.

Outlook

We aim to put the software solution for ultra-high-definition image distribution services to practical use as early as possible based on this technology.