• May 13, 2024
  • Blogs

Picking the Right Codec for Mission-Critical Links 

Picking the Right Codec for Mission-Critical Links 

By Sergio Ammirata, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Scientist, SipRadius 

When it comes to mission-critical links, choosing the right codec is essential. The decision impacts not just the quality of your transmission, but also its efficiency and reliability. Here are the key considerations you should take into account. 

The first consideration should always be image quality. It’s important to determine whether you need the decoded stream to look identical to the original, which means it should be visually lossless. You need to understand the level of degradation you can tolerate and consider the effects of multiple encode/decode cycles. These factors are crucial for maintaining the integrity of your transmission, especially in scenarios where high visual fidelity is required. 

Next, consider the compression efficiency you need. The greater the compression ratio, the less bandwidth you need for transmission. This reduction in bandwidth not only lowers costs but also enhances stability and reliability, as you’re not pushing the limits of the transmission circuit. Efficient compression can make a significant difference in operational performance and cost-effectiveness. 

Processing resources are another critical factor. Compressing a video stream involves complex mathematics, which means you need to assess the processing resources available to you. Do you need real-time processing, as required for live broadcasting, or are you processing content offline for video on demand? Real-time processing demands higher computational power and efficiency, making the choice of codec even more pivotal. 

Intellectual property is also a significant consideration. It’s essential to know who owns the codec and the associated licensing fees. Balancing application, quality, bandwidth, processor demands, and royalties is crucial in deciding which codec is the best fit for your needs. 

AV1 is a codec that ticks many of the right boxes. It is widely recognized for delivering excellent results with bandwidth savings of up to 50% compared to traditional codecs like H.264. Additionally, it is royalty-free. However, AV1 has traditionally been viewed as too processor-intensive for real-time delivery. 

SipRadius has tackled the processor challenge of AV1 by implementing the codec in original software running on widely available Intel GPUs. We have also provided encapsulation into MPEG-TS, allowing it to flow seamlessly through existing professional streaming fabrics. For those preferring JPEG-XS, we offer an MPEG-TS encapsulation for that codec as well. 

Premium live productions are increasingly relying on IP contribution circuits and remote production. Achieving the quality and reliability these signals demand depends on carefully considering the four key factors: image quality, compression efficiency, processing resources, and intellectual property. By addressing these considerations, you can make an informed decision that ensures your transmissions are both high-quality and reliable. 

For more information on how SipRadius can help you choose and implement the right codec for your mission-critical links, contact us today. Discover how our innovative solutions can enhance your production quality and reliability while optimizing your transmission efficiency.