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TECH BLOG / July 12, 2021

8K HDR Encoding and Playback using VVC



Berlin, July 12, 2021 – Spin Digital and Fraunhofer HHI presented a video coding and playback demonstration of 8K HDR using the Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard.

The demonstration was presented on June 21 at the 3IT Innovation Center for Immersive Imaging Technologies of Fraunhofer HHI in Berlin, and was organized by Spin Digital and Fraunhofer HHI with the support of Sony.

Check out the Demo on YouTube

As video summary of the demonstration can be found in YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiBNxcM4538

VVC for 8K HDR Video

The main objective of the demonstration was to evaluate the new Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard for 8K HDR video. VVC, also known as H.266, is the next-generation video coding standard that aims at reducing the bitrate (at the same quality) by 50% compared to its predecessor, the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. In addition, VVC enables efficient compression of a wide range of video types and applications including: HDR, screen content, 360° video, and multi-layer (scalable) video.

The demonstration included encoding 8K HDR video using Fraunhofer HHI’s VVenC encoder, and real-time decoding using Spin Digital’s Spin Player VVC decoder and media player. The main highlights of the demonstration are:

  • 8K HDR at 25 Mbit/s: VVC achieved 50% bitrate reduction at the same visual quality compared to HEVC at similar encoding speed.
  • 8K VVC real-time playback: real-time decoding and playback of 8K HDR VVC videos using an optimized software decoder.

The Figure below illustrates the workflow used in the demonstration. More details about encoding, decoding and playback, and quality analysis are presented next.

8K HDR encoding and playback demonstration using VVC

8K HDR Encoding using VVC

Seven 8Kp60 PQ-graded video sequences produced by Fraunhofer HHI and InterDigital were encoded with two open-source encoders: VVC VVenC, developed by Fraunhofer HHI, and HEVC x265. Both encoders were configured to produce a similar visual quality and operate at a comparable encoding speed. As shown in the figure below, x265 was configured with its veryslow preset and a bit rate of 50 Mbit/s, and VVenC with its medium preset and a bit rate of 25 Mbit/s, that is, half the rate of HEVC.

8K HDR Decoding and Playback

The HEVC and VVC video files were decoded and played back on a Sony 8K HDR TV using Spin Digital’s software media player, Spin Player. The media player relies on highly optimized CPU-based VVC and HEVC decoders capable of processing 8K HDR videos at 60 Hz and 120 Hz in real-time, and an advanced video render engine with support for 8K with HDMI 2.1 (GPU) and 12G SDI interfaces.

In the demonstration the utilized playback machine included an Intel Xeon Gold 6252 processor with 24 CPU cores. The decoded 8Kp60 video was sent to a Sony ZH8 8K HDR TV via the HDMI 2.1 interface.

Quality Analysis: VVC and HEVC for 8K

The visual quality of the VVC and HEVC encoded videos was assessed by video codec experts from Spin Digital and Fraunhofer HHI. According to an informal subjective analysis, both encoders with the above mentioned configurations produced a similar visual quality. In some videos with complex motion and textures the VVenC VVC encoder exhibited superior visual quality than x265 HEVC.

VVC Demo Specifications

The main specifications of the demonstration are summarized in the table below.

Properties8K demo specs
Video resolution and frame rate7680x4320px - 60 Hz
Chroma format and bit depth4;2:0 10-bit
HDR transfer functionPQ (SMPTE ST2084)
Color gamutBT.2020 (BT.2100)
VVC encodingVVenC v1.0 - medium preset: 25 Mbit/s
HEVC encodingx265 v3.5 - veryslow preset: 50 Mbit/s
HEVC and VVC decoding and playerSpin Player HEVC and VVC
CPU for decodingIntel Xeon Gold 6252 (24 cores)
GPU for rendering and HDMI 2.1 interfaceNvidia RTX 3060
8K TVSony Z8H 8K HDR (XBR-85Z8H)

More Information

  • VVenC: Fraunhofer HHI VVC optimized encoder
  • Spin Player VVC: Spin Digital real-time 8K VVC decoder and media player

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