2016 Release: What's New in Intel® Media Server Studio

Published: 02/18/2016  

Last Updated: 02/18/2016

By Surbhi Madan, Brenda A Christoffer

Achieve Real-Time 4K HEVC Encode, Ensure AVC & MPEG-2 Decode Robustness

Intel® Media Server Studio 2016 is now available! Faster, dense, high-quality video transcoding just became easier. 

With a 1.1x performance and 10% quality improvement in its HEVC encoder, Intel® Media Server Studio helps transcoding solution providers achieve real-time 4K HEVC encode with broadcast quality on Intel® Xeon® E3 processor-based Intel® Visual Compute Accelerator and select Intel® Xeon® E5 processors.1 Robustness enhancements give extra confidence for AVC and MPEG-2 decode scenarios through handling of broken content seamlessly. See below for more details about new features to accelerate media transcoding.

As a leader in media processing acceleration and cloud-based technologies, - thanks to the power of Intel® processors and Intel® Media Server Studio, - Intel helps media solution providers, broadcasting companies, and media/infrastructure developers innovate and deliver advanced performance, efficiency and quality for media applications, and OTT/live video broadcasting.

Download Media Server Studio 2016 Now

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Improve HEVC (H.265) Performance & Quality by 10%, Use Advanced GPU Analysis, Reduce Bandwidth

Professional Edition

  • With 1.1x performance and 10% quality increase (compared to the previous release), media solution developers can achieve real-time 4K HEVC encode with broadcast quality on select Intel Xeon E5 platforms1 using Intel HEVC software solution and Intel® Visual Compute Accelerator (Intel® VCA)1 by leveraging a GPU-accelerated HEVC encoder.

  • Improve HEVC GPU-accelerated performance by offloading the in-loop filters like deblocking filter (DBF) and sample adaptive offset (SAO) workload to the GPU (in prior releases these filters executed on the CPU(s)).

Figure 1. The 2016 edition continues the rapid cadence of innovation with up to 10% improved video coding efficiency over the 2015 R7 version. In addition to delivering real-time 4K30 encode on select Intel® Xeon® E5 processors, this edition now provides real-time 1080p50 encode on previous generation Intel® Core™ i7 and Xeon E3 platforms.** HEVC Software/GPU Accelerated Encode Quality vs. Performance on 4:2:0, 8-bit 1080p content. Quality data is baseline to ISO HM14 (“0 %”) and computed using Y-PSNR BDRATE curves. Performance is an average across 4 bitrates ranging from low bitrate (avg 3.8Mbps) to high bitrate (avg 25 Mbps). For more information, please refer to Deliver High Quality and Performance HEVC whitepaper.

  • With Intel® VTune™ Amplifier advancements, developers can more easily get and interpret graphics processor usage and performance of OpenCL* and Intel® Media SDK-optimized applications. Includes CPU and GPU concurrency analysis, GPU usage analysis using hardware metrics, GPU architecture diagram, and much more.

  • Reduce bandwidth when using HEVC codec by running Region of Interest (ROI) based encoding, where ROI can be least compressed to preserve details as compared to other surroundings. This feature improves Video Conferencing applications. This can be achieved by setting mfxExtEncoderROI structure in the application to specify different ROIs during encoding, and can be used at initialization or at runtime.

  • Video Conferencing - Connect business meetings and people together more quickly via video conferencing with specially tuned low-delay HEVC mode.

  • Innovate for 8K - Don't limit your application for encoding steams of 4K resolution, Intel's HEVC codec in Media Server Studio 2016 now supports 8K, both software and GPU-accelerated encoder

Advance AVC (H.264) & MPEG-2 Decode & Transcode

Community, Essentials, Pro Editions

  • Advanced 5th generation graphics and media accelerators, plus custom drivers unlock transcoding for up to 16 HD AVC streams real-time high quality per socket on Intel Xeon E3 v4 processors (or via Intel VCA)by taking advantage of hardware acceleration. 

  • Achieve up to 12 HD AVC streams on Intel® Core™ 4th generation processors with Intel® Iris™ graphics**. 

  • Utilize improved AVC encode quality for BRefType MFX_B_REF_PYRAMID.

  • AVC and MPEG2 decoder is more robust than ever in handling corrupted streams and returning failure errors. Get extra confidence for AVC and MPEG-2 decode scenarios with increased robustness and recovery to corrupted output, and seamless handling of broken content. Advanced error reporting allows developers to better find and analyze decode errors. 

Figure 2: In the 2016 version 40% performance gains are achieved in H.264 scenarios from improved hardware scheduling algorithms compared to the 2015 version.** This figure illustrates results of multiple H.264 encodes from a single H.264 source file accelerated using Intel® Quick Sync Video using sample multi_transcode (avail. in code samples). Each point is an average of 4 streams and 6 bitrates with error bars showing performance variation across streams and bitrates. Target Usage 7 (“TU7”) is the highest speed (and lowest quality) operating point. [1080p 50 content was obtained from media.xiph.org/video/derf/: crowd_run, park_joy (30mbps input; 5, 7.1, 10.2, 14.6, 20.9, 30 mbps output; in_to_tree, old_town_cross 15 mbps input, 2.5, 3.5, 5.1, 7.3, 10.4, 15 mbps output]. Configuration: AVC1→N Multi-Bitrate concurrent transcodes, 1080p, TU7 preset, Intel® Core™ i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz ** Number of 1080p Multi-bitrate channels.

Other New and Improved Features

  • Improvements in Intel® SDK for OpenCL™ Applications for Windows includes new features for kernel development.

  • Added support for CTB-level delta QP for all quality presets i.e. Target Usage 1 through 7 for all rate control modes (CBR, VBR, AVBR, ConstQP) and all Profiles (MAIN, MAIN10, REXT).

  • Support for encoding IPPP..P stream i.e. no B frames by using Generalized P and B control for the applications where B frames are dropped to meet bandwidth limitations

  • H.264 encode natively consumes ARGB surfaces (captured from screen/game) and YUY2 surfaces, which reduces preprocessing overhead (i.e. color conversion from RGB4 to NV12 for the Intel® Media SDK to process), and increases screen capture performance.

Save Time by Using Updated Code Samples 

  • Major features are added to sample_multi_transcode by extending the pipeline to multiple VPP filters like composition, denoise, detail (edge detection), frame rate control (FRC), deinterlace, color space conversion(CSC).

  • Sample_decode in the Linux sample package has drm based rendering, which can use input argument "-rdrm". Now, sample_decode and sample_decvpp are merged in the decode sample with new VPP filters like deinterlace and color space conversion added.

For More Information

The above notes are just the top level features and enhancements in Media Server Studio 2016. Access the product site and review the various edition Release Notes for more details.

  •  Essential/Community Edition Release Notes Windows   Linux
  •  Professional Edition Release Notes:  Windows   Linux

1 See Technical Specifications for more details.

**Baseline configuration: Intel® Media Server Studio 2016 Essentials vs. 2015 R7, R4 running on Microsoft Windows* 2012 R2. Intel Customer Reference Platform with Intel® Core-i7 4770k (84W, 4C,3.5GHz, Intel® HD Graphics 4600). Intel Z87KL Desktop board with Intel Z87LPC, 16 GB (4x4GB DDR3-1600MHz UDIMM), 1.0TB 7200 SATA HDD, Turbo Boost Enabled, and HT Enabled. Source: Intel internal measurements as of January 2016.




Product and Performance Information


Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more at www.Intel.com/PerformanceIndex.