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8 July 2021

It’s not the flavor we expected, but it’s a V-Nova integration nonetheless

Seven weeks since lifting the lid on finished LCEVC licensing terms, V-Nova has landed a certified integration partner for its MPEG-5 Part 2 video enhancement technology. That partner is Southworks, a London-based software development company. The apple never falls far from the tree, we suppose.

Faultline has long known that LCEVC is positioned as a cross-industry weapon – something to be deployed in areas from aerospace to philanthropy – rather than a technology exclusive only to the world’s largest video streaming platforms. The arrival of Southworks on the scene as an integration partner is a reminder of that message, one which is intrinsically evident in the licensing terms too.

What the move means is that Southworks can support LCEVC decoding in web players, including FFmpeg, ExoPlayer for Android, AVPlayer for iOS, Microsoft UWP, HLS.js, Shaka Player and video.js.

Keen to highlight the mutual benefits, Southworks says the integration equips V-Nova with the means to quickly spin up new demos and adapt to technology changes, given Southworks’ web player agnosticism.

Southworks is essentially a global team of developers that claim to be a cut above the rest. Its pitch is that your average outsourced software developer needs their hand held throughout a project, taking time out of your schedule as the project owner. Southworks says it has expertise in technology practice areas including cloud video engineering, cognitive systems, cybersecurity, big data and machine learning, application modernization, and modern workplace software.

Big names on the Southworks client list include Amazon, Microsoft, Discovery, Twitch, Roku, Swisscom, the BBC, and even Haivision.

As a company claiming to find the fastest way to the best outcomes, we can see why the integration of LCEVC by Southworks is a beneficial move, one that is sure to impress its client base.

Praise be the retrofittable and backwards compatibility of the enhancement standard for improving video delivery on top of existing workflows. LCEVC has earned its stripes by enabling higher quality video and crunching bitrates by as much as 40%, while accelerating encoding and reducing compute costs by 4x. The software is also backwards-compatible for 4K and even 8K broadcast, with moderate bandwidth increases over HD, where the video enhancement information can be sent via broadband with upscaling.

And due to this backwards compatibility, it wouldn’t really be practical to try and charge royalties or licenses for devices that are already out in the field. This is why LCEVC’s licensing structure targets video services over OEMs.

For anyone looking for a recap of the LCEVC licensing terms, SVoD services below 100,000 subs are exempt, and the fees are capped at 50 million subs. The average price per sub ranges from $0.001 to $0.012. For AVoD, services below 600,000 MAUs are exempt, with the cap coming at 300 million MAUs, with the same average price. TV Everywhere will use a similar model to AVoD.

The cost of the Usage License is determined by the type of video service and by the number of users it has, with the ballpark prices ranging from less than one cent per user per year, up to 12 cents per user per year. The maximum fee is capped at $3.7 million.

For example, an SVoD service with 80 million annual users would reach the cap at $3.7 million. An AVoD service with 100 million annual users would be paying $1.8 million. An operator TV Everywhere service with 12 million users would be paying $250,000, and a tiny video service with 250,000 users would pay around $18,000 annually. The point here is that it becomes cheaper, per-user, as a video service scales up in its reach. In other words, this is pitched as a progressive model.

Southworks’ Business Development Director, Alexander Thompson, commented, “The ability to distribute video content online more efficiently and quickly by compressing content without losing quality and irrespective of the player that is used, will provide a great amplification opportunity.”