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13 September 2022

Intel and Meta back LCEVC to extend video efficiency and 5G battery life

UK-based video compression specialist V-Nova has presented results of a study, carried out in collaboration with Intel and Meta, that presents MPEG-5 LCEVC as a valuable tool for enhancing SVT-AV1 (the Scalable Video Technology extension of the AV1 codec). The bottom line is improved compression efficiency – supporting efforts of the Alliance for Open Media to shake AV1’s power-guzzling reputation, especially in the mobile world.

LCEVC (Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding) specifies an enhancement layer which, when combined with a base video encoded with a separate codec, produces an enhanced video stream.

The technical research paper is not exclusive to SVT-AV1, but also assesses LCEVC as an enhancement tool across the full range of applications using the AVC, HEVC and AV1 codecs. But it does emerge that LCEVC is particularly well-suited for SVT-AV1.

The report is clear that the combination of LCEVC with SVT-AV1 builds on the improvements of speed/quality trade-off and fast decoding, shown with SVT-AV1, as well as showcasing energy efficient deployments.

In fact, LCEVC highlights inherent flaws in AV1 that would otherwise hinder adoption. We covered a previous research paper from V-Nova last year, which highlighted how native AV1 dropped 40% of video frames without LCEVC, and up to 90% on some cases, but just 4% with LCEVC.

Conclusions of the latest technical research, as shown to an audience for the first time in San Diego late last week, find that on the decoding side, LCEVC extends mobile battery life by up to 50% against state-of-the-art AV1 software decoding.

Looking at mobile battery life extension, a Samsung Galaxy S9 (using the dav1d open source AV1 decoder) showed a 33% battery improvement with LCEVC AV1 during 1 hour of video playback measuring battery drain. A Google Pixel 5 showed a 41% improvement in battery life, while the best result came on a Samsung Galaxy S9 running the GAV1 software decoder, with 50% battery life extension over 1 hour playback when using LCEVC (as shown in the graphic below).

The latest study builds on the SPIE paper from 2021 with Meta and Intel, supported by V-Nova, using exactly the same methodology describing three approaches of evaluating compression efficiency versus cycles trade-offs using the Dynamic Optimizer (DO) framework for VoD applications.

With battery consumption for software AV1 decoders on mobile devices being unsustainable at current power consumption rates, combining the DO best practices with improvements in SVT-AV1 and LCEVC has been shown to once again improve the compression efficiency versus cycles trade-offs, while expanding the range of mobile devices capable of playing HD with AV1.