Intigral is a major provider of cloud-based video services and digital entertainment in the MENA region, serving a very large audience of subscribers. The company is focussed on delivering high video quality and enhancing the user experience, and at the same time identifying ways to control operational costs to sustain continued growth in the business.
As Eyad Al Dwaik, Director of Engineering Operations at Intigral noted, “Video streaming can be extremely bandwidth-intensive and therefore, saving bandwidth costs is critical to ensuring profitability.” In particular, Intigral has needed a transcoding system that would reduce OPEX while improving service quality.
After carrying out thorough market research and a competitive evaluation, Intigral selected VisualOn’s Optimizer to enhance its VOD workflow. The improved workflow handles a library of existing assets as well as a monthly catalogue of new content, and uses AVC (H.264) and HEVC (H.265) for SD, HD and UHD content.
Workflow at Intigral.
VisualOn’s Optimizer substantially reduced video bitrates without reducing visual quality, and led to savings in bandwidth and storage costs. Results were measured by VMAF (Video Multimethod Assessment Fusion) score, the Netflix perceptual video quality assessment algorithm, as well as subjective double-blind viewing tests. Its integration into the existing workflow is straightforward, using simple FFmpeg APIs without changing any existing components.
Furthermore, no extra hardware was required, due to Optimizer’s single-pass transcoding process which saves compute and energy, compared with the dual-pass transcoding previously used. The output streams are fully compliant with a wide range of standards, which allows audiences to view the same OTT content across multiple platforms including STBs, browsers, Android and iOS devices, without any modifications.
Universal Content-Adaptive Encoding
The Optimizer is a universal Content-Adaptive Encoding system for video streaming. With an AI-assisted approach, it continuously analyzes content in real-time to determine the transcoder settings to result in the best possible video quality and lower bitrates. At the same bitrate, the Optimizer can also improve video quality, as more bits are available and are more appropriately allocated to where they are needed within the frame.
Benchmarking the Optimizer's results.
Not bound by a particular encoder or compression format, it integrates with the existing encoder to optimize its settings for the best outcome, so as to avoid disturbing the workflow.
The Optimizer’s results are regularly benchmarked with those from other systems on customers’ production data, consistently producing competitive quality video, as shown in the table above comparing results with AWS QVBR.
Intigral chose VisualOn Optimizer for its transcoding workflow based on several factors. For instance, according to VisualOn, the Optimizer reduces video bitrates by about 40% on average, while maintaining or improving visual quality and enhancing the user experience. Also, as a single-pass transcoding tool, Optimizer can work within VOD and live services without adding latency.
With the Optimizer, Intigral is not obliged to change the encoder or add hardware. Instead, it can be integrated directly as a FFmpeg plug-in, making it straightforward to incorporate into the workflow, and the software is compression format and codec agnostic, adapting to Intigral’s specific requirements. Moreover, the Optimizer is based on patent-pending development, with expert support for users. www.visualon.com
Quality of experience