The Vault

Perceptual Pre-filtering Explained, MWC 2014
Video / Mar 2014 / Video, Codec, 4K, HD

Bill Crean: It’s been an exciting week already at Mobile World Congress. We’ve had a lot of attention on our user-aware video solutions, especially our perceptual prefilter software product, which we’re demonstrating applied to 4K content. Indeed, 4K is a big deal. The key is, it’s here. You can buy the devices, and the content publishers - many of them - have announced that they’re going to deliver the content. So, today, video streaming is on the increase. And even with HD content, there’s a lot of bad user experience. We can all identify with the frustration of dealing with hesitations, hiccups, re-buffering, and reduced resolution when we’re streaming video. Well, 4K’s coming. 4K televisions like these, they have four times the number of pixels. So, even with advanced encoding techniques, there’s a lot more data to push across the content delivery networks. Luckily, our user-aware video products, like our perceptual prefilter, can help the situation. With our perceptual prefilter software product, we understand and utilize the science of the limits of the human visual acuity system. So, we understand that, under certain environmental viewing conditions, there are details in the content that we, as humans, cannot detect. So, what we do with our perceptual prefilter is, we filter out that information that we know will not be seen anyway. As a result, we have a reduced bit rate with no sacrifice of the perceived quality. That translates into better user experience when doing the content. Absolutely. What we’ve been demonstrating this week is our perceptual prefilter applied to 4K content. We’ve got a 33-megabit-per-second stream on one of these displays. And on the other, we’re showing what we’ve prefiltered that happens during the encoding process, and we’ve been able to reduce the bit rate by 40 percent, down to a 20-megabit-per-second stream for this particular content. So, what’s fun this week is seeing people look at the two beautiful displays, and try to guess which is the one - the original stream, and which is the one that’s a 40 percent lower bit rate. And people can’t do it. It’s fun to see people go back and forth, trying to decide, and not being able to make up their mind.