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5 September 2019

V-Nova P+ first to use LCEVC – promising boost over next-gen codecs

Five months on since NAB 2019 which marked a significant turning point for the UK’s V-Nova, the compression company has come out with the third installment of its long-misunderstood Perseus codec. Called P+, the next evolution of the Perseus Plus codec includes the world’s first implementation of the bi-layer MPEG-5 Part 2 LCEVC (low complexity enhancement video coding) standard.

V-Nova has been promising a codec revolution for years now and here at Faultline Online Reporter, we have not shied away from voicing our frustrations regarding the vendor’s under-achievements. Now V-Nova is proclaiming how P+ will transform the codec landscape by providing operators with a way to deploy better video quality with lower encoding costs to existing and future workflows.

LCEVC allows any existing encoding pipeline, whether running AVC, HEVC, VP9, AV1 and even VVC further down the line, to achieve the same or better quality as a next-generation codec at the same bitrate and at up to 4x lower computational complexity, according to V-Nova.

Available as an SDK, as a containerized transcoding microservice, directly from the V-Nova platform in AWS, or pre-integrated into various open source options, P+ becomes the first compression technology on the market to make use of the LCEVC standard, of which Perseus itself continues to play a pivotal role in developing prior to Part 2’s completion next year.

As well as implementing the forthcoming codec-agnostic LCEVC standard, P+ is adding further compression efficiency gains with new features including mobile encoding, AI-powered optimizations and a new SDK integration framework for improved hardware efficiencies – all of which we will be diving into during our catch-up with V-Nova next week.

We have a few bones to pick with V-Nova, however, namely seeking updates on 62 Perseus projects which the company told us at NAB were underway at industry heavyweights including Facebook, Twitch and CNN – telling us it expected at least 90% to emerge as eventual customers going by current feedback.

It’s worth noting that LCEVC is a two-layer video coding standard whereby the lower layer is not tied to any specific technology and can be any video codec. The higher layer meanwhile is used to extend the capability of an existing video codec. Part 1 Essential Video Coding (EVC) will have a base layer/profile which is expected to be Option 1 and a second layer/profile with a performance approximately 25% better than HEVC. It was also noted that licensing terms are expected to be published by patent holders within 2 years.

As a reminder, Perseus Plus is the foundation of MPEG-5 Part 2, at least in the working version ahead of final standardization later in 2019. The working group is in fact being co-chaired by Dolby alongside V-Nova, so it is unlikely now that Perseus Plus will fail to make the final version, although enhancements are anticipated from other MPEG participants. The latter may include Comcast as a shareholder in V-Nova through its acquisition of Sky, while Amazon and Technicolor are definitely involved.

“P+ represents the culmination of years of research and advancement” said Guido Meardi, CEO and co-founder at V-Nova. “We have implemented a broad range of new features and optimizations. Most importantly, it includes the world’s first implementation of MPEG’s most exciting new standard, MPEG-5 Part 2 (LCEVC), a brand new approach in video compression, demonstrating its benefits and ease of adoption. Unlike a typical codec standard rollout, due to the software nature of the approach, operators and broadcasters will be able to deploy LCEVC immediately.”