Harmonic EyeQ perception filter crushes mobile HD to 1.5Mbps

At last week’s NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show in the US, video encoder company Harmonic upped its game in the mobile market with EyeQ, which reduces the bandwidth for encoding based on what the human eye can sense.

EyeQ is a form of perception filter which delivers 50% better compression, so that HD streams can be compressed to under 1.5Mbps.  Harmonic says this comes in under the data ceiling of US zero-rated mobile services and that it will also work with xDSL networks, meaning far better quality video on those.

Harmonic is not the only company making progress in this area. Israeli start-up BEAMR has been working on perception filters for several years, while Harmonic rival V-Nova recently claimed that it could produce fully monetizable HD for mobile devices in 1Mbps and HD for DSL in 2Mbps.

Harmonic also discussed its plans to reduce latency in video streaming, with a
Real time streaming workflow that matches the latency of live broadcast (which is about seven seconds).

The company says it is able to do this by using CMAF (Content Media Application Format) packaging and HTTP chunked transfer encoding. CMAF creates content that can be viewed in both HLS and MPEG-DASH, allowing a single packager output. Chunked transfer encoding is a well-established way of bypassing the HTTP Content-Length header and replacing it with one that has an unknown length, to support live content and its unpredictable running times.

Use of CMAF became possible last June after Apple said it would support a container format called fMP4, based on CMAF.