TECH BLOG / December 2, 2019

Recommended Systems for 8K Playback. Part 1: Using GPUs

By Mauricio Alvarez-Mesa, PhD — Spin Player is a software media player based on highly optimized HEVC and VVC decoders and an advanced video rendering engine. The media player allows the playback of 8K video using compact and cost-effective PC systems.

Spin Player comes in three editions depending on the video codec supported: Spin Player HEVC, Spin Player VVC,  Spin Player Raw.

In this tech blog we provide a set of recommendations for 8K video playback and we also describe 8K display set-ups using commercially available 8K TVs and monitors.

Spin Player Performance

The final performance of the media player depends mainly on the content properties, input bitrate, and the platform performance:

  • Content properties: The player’s performance is affected by content properties such as resolution, chroma format (4:2:0, 4:2:2, 4:4:4), bit depth (10-bit, 12-bit) and spatial and temporal activity in the input video.
  • Bitrate: HEVC and VVC decoding performance depends directly on the input bitrate, the higher the bitrate the higher the performance required to achieve a target application (e.g. 8Kp60). The bitrate, in turn,  depends on the encoding options that were used during the encoding of the input video, including among others: bitrate settings, rate control method, GOP size, intra-frame period,  and block size.
  • Platform performance: The decoding performance directly depends on the CPU performance: clock frequency and number of CPU cores. Video rendering performance depends on the GPU performance: frequency, number of cores, memory bandwidth.

Parallel Scalability

The HEVC and VVC decoders have been extensively optimized for performance with advanced multithreading in order to make efficient use of modern multicore CPU architectures. Different parallelization methods are supported including: Wavefront Parallel Processing (WPP), slices, tiles, and frame-level parallelism. Common picture partition formats used in the industry and supported by Spin Player include:

  • WPP: commonly used by software encoders
  • 4 slices (HEVC): as defined by the ARIB ATD-B32 standard
  • 2×2 tiles: used by some 8K hardware encoders

The decoding performance scales very well with the number of CPU cores. By using CPUs with higher core counts it is possible to increase the performance for applications that require higher bitrates, higher quality chroma formats (4:2:2 or 4:4:4), higher frame rates, and even resolutions beyond 8K.

System Configuration for 8K Playback Using GPU Rendering

We have conducted a detailed benchmarking analysis using hard-to-decode content in 8K resolution in order to identify the required properties of the system for 8Kp60 payback applications.

The Spin Player technical brochures (Spin Player HEVC, Spin Player VVC, and Spin Player Raw) describe the properties of the recommended platforms for 8K playback for different use cases including 8K distribution, contribution, high fidelity, high frame rate, and resolutions beyond 8K.

In Spin Player the CPU is used for video decoding (HEVC and VVC) and the GPU is only used for video rendering, the latter including color conversion, composition, and handling the display interface (DisplayPort or HDMI).

Display Systems for 8Kp60

We have tested Spin Player with different commercial 8K displays. Some examples of 8K playback systems are given below.

8K TV with HDMI 2.1

  • TV Model: Sony Z9J BRAVIA XR – XR-75Z9J
  • AV connector: 1x HDMI 2.1
Display system for 8Kp60 using Soy XR-75Z9J

8K TV with HDMI 2.0

  • TV Model: Sharp Aquos LC-70X500 or newer
  • AV connector: 4x DisplayPort 1.4 to 4x HDMI 2.0b
  • DisplayPort to HDMI converters: recommended Club3D CAC-1080
Display system for 8Kp60 using Sharp Aquos LC-70X500

Dell 8K Monitor

  • Monitor model: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
  • AV connector: 2x DisplayPort
Display system for 8Kp60 using Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

8K Playback with 12G SDI Interface

The Spin Digital media players also support 12G SDI output for 8K video playback. The SDI support is addressed for professionals requiring maximum control of the video processing and display chain.

More information about the recommended systems for 8K playback using 12G SDI can be found in the following tech blog.

Note and Disclaimer

These recommendations are based on internal tests performed by Spin Digital. This information is provided “as is” and it does not imply any warranty or assurance. If you have more specific requirements, please contact us.

Spin Player HEVC and Spin Player VVC are trademarks of Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH.

Other trademarks remain the property of their owners, and are used here for descriptive purposes.