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4K/8K Video Revolution: Overcoming Challenges with Innovative Solutions

Tencent MPS - Dev Team

With the advancement of display resolutions and the continuous upgrade of viewing devices, the industry's demand for video clarity is increasing. Faced with the challenges posed by 4K/8K ultra-high resolutions and high bitrates, many new pain points need to be addressed. Today's article will share some thoughts on how Tencent MPS (Tencent Media Processing Service) can leverage media processing capabilities to accelerate media digitalization upgrades.

4K and 8K Ultra HD refer to standards for video resolution used to describe the clarity and detail of images.

These Ultra HD resolutions are widely applied in areas such as television, film production, photography, and gaming. They offer a heightened visual experience, enabling viewers to enjoy more lifelike and intricate images.

What is 4K Resolution

4K Ultra HD: 4K resolution typically refers to a video resolution with a horizontal pixel count of 3840 pixels and a vertical pixel count of 2160 pixels. It is also known as 2160p or UHD (Ultra High Definition). Compared to traditional Full HD (1080p) resolution, 4K provides higher pixel density, resulting in sharper images and richer details.

What is 8K Ultra HD

8K Ultra HD: 8K resolution refers to a video resolution with a horizontal pixel count of 7680 pixels and a vertical pixel count of 4320 pixels. It is also known as 4320p or FUHD (Full Ultra High Definition). 8K resolution is higher than 4K resolution, providing even higher pixel density and more details, resulting in more realistic and clearer images.

Challenges of Ultra HD video

1、Urgent Need for Efficient Real-Time Encoding Technologies

As 4K/8K video introduces unprecedented resolution and bitrate, conventional encoding technologies struggle to keep up with the demands of real-time processing. Particularly in live broadcasting and major event scenarios, there is an acute need for technologies that can swiftly handle and compress high-resolution video streams to ensure seamless and real-time content delivery.

Encoding Technology Challenges

2、Innovation in System Architecture and Cost Control

Ultra-high-definition video places greater demands on the transmission and distribution system architecture. There is a necessity to innovatively design system architectures that can support the transmission of high-bitrate video while achieving optimization in cost control, adapting to the ever-growing volume of video data and ensuring economic viability.

3、Feasibility and Economic Viability of High-Quality Content Production

Given the high production costs associated with 4K/8K content, the market suffers from a scarcity of high-quality video resources. There is an immediate need to explore more economical and efficient methods of content production that maintain the ultra-high definition quality and deliver an enriched visual experience.

4、Adaptability of Encoding Strategies in Emerging Technology Scenarios

The advent of technologies like AR/VR presents new challenges for video encoding technologies. There is a need to develop encoding strategies that can adapt to the requirements of high frame rates, low latency, and interactivity, while also optimizing encoding efficiency and compression rates under the constraints of limited bandwidth and storage.

By focusing efforts on addressing these core challenges, the development and application of 4K/8K ultra-high-definition video technology can be propelled more effectively.

Technological innovation and solutions

When faced with the challenges brought by 4K/8K ultra-high-definition videos, we have not only conducted thorough analysis of these technical obstacles but also actively explored and implemented a series of innovative optimization solutions, aiming to achieve technological breakthroughs and enhance the overall video processing capabilities.Encoding pipeline

1、Tencent's Self-developed Encoder and Real-time 4K/8K Video Compression Optimization

Self-developed Encoder: Tencent has independently developed encoding cores, including H.264, H.265, AV1, and H.266, to adapt and optimize for various business scenarios.

Real-time Encoding Optimization: During the Beijing Winter Olympics, real-time encoding compression of 4K/8K videos was achieved, supporting real-time encoding with frame rates as high as 120FPS. Customized tuning within the encoder was implemented to meet the requirements for real-time performance.

2、Enhancing Parallelism and System Architecture for Improved Encoding Performance

Parallelism Enhancement: By optimizing frame-level and macroblock-level parallel processing, supporting tile grid encoding, and increasing encoding parallelism, the speed of lookahead pre-analysis and post-processing is accelerated.

System Architecture Adjustment: A platform for processing ultra-high-definition live streams was designed, which utilizes transmuxing and distributed parallel processing across multiple machines to enhance system flexibility and resource utilization.

Optimization of Ultra-High-Definition Encoding

3、Solutions for content creation and resource optimization strategies

Image Quality Remastering: Leveraging media processing capabilities, image quality remastering technology is used to compensate for the lack of ultra-high-definition video sources. For example, Tencent MPS can upgrade old video sources to 4K resolution, enhancing the viewing experience.

Cost-effectiveness Analysis: By optimizing the software encoder, similar encoding results to hardware encoders are achieved, balancing transcoding compression ratio and business flexibility, while saving costs.

4、Optimizing Encoding Strategy and Perceptual Coding Analysis

Encoding strategy optimization: Perform scene classification and detection on video sources, such as noise detection and artifact detection, to prepare for subsequent encoding optimization, and perform image restoration on the video sources.

Perceptual coding analysis: Conduct perceptual coding analysis prior to encoding, analyzing the ROI (Region of Interest) areas in the video frames, and adjusting the encoding based on texture complexity and human visual sensitivity to optimize the bitrate allocation between macroblocks.

These solutions and optimization strategies are designed to enhance the encoding efficiency of 4K/8K videos, improve the transmission and playback experience, while reducing costs and enhancing the quality and availability of content. Through these technological innovations, it becomes possible to better adapt to the demands of emerging technology scenarios and drive the development of ultra-high-definition video technology.

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