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As recent studies have demonstrated, high efficiency codecs like HEVC/H.265 now have mature software implementations that deliver on the promise of 50% bitrate savings over AVC/H.264, at the same quality. Such efficiency improvements are critical to enable delivery of video at ultra high definition (UHD) and beyond. Today I am pleased to announce that we are conducting trials of HEVC encoding and delivery in Azure Media Services with our customers. Built on the same platform as the Premium Encoder, the new encoder provides enhancements including the following:

  • HEVC encoding at UHD/4K resolutions, including 4096×2160 pixels at 60 frames/second
  • Support for high dynamic range (HDR) content via HDR10 Media Profile with bit depth of 10-bits per color sample, BT.2020 color primaries, encoded at HEVC Main 10 Profile

Your encoding process would be very similar to that using the Premium Encoder. Your mezzanine files can be encoded to HEVC video/Dolby Digital Plus or AAC audio, and stored as ISO MP4 files. These can subsequently be dynamically packaged into MPEG DASH, streamed to devices, such as 4K TVs. TSUTAYA, a video rental and online VoD service company based in Japan, is currently testing such a workflow, validating that the compression tools meet their requirements. You can check the output of the encoder yourself – here is a link to a test video that you can view in the Edge browser, on a Windows 10 device with hardware HEVC decode support.

Are you interested in participating in these trials? Please contact us at ams-uhdsup@microsoft.com

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