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FAQ

How can I contact Beamr?

Email us at info@beamr.com and we'd be glad to help with all your questions

General

Who is Beamr?

Beamr is a video technology software company and image science pioneer founded in 2009. The company is backed by Verizon, Innovation Endeavors (Eric Schmidt), and Disruptive. Beamr’s technology has received 36 patents with nearly two dozen pending, making Beamr the leading provider of video software encoding, transcoding, and optimization solutions. Users include tier one MSOs, OTT content distributors, video streaming platforms, and Hollywood studios. Beamr’s products are next-gen cloud-enabled and ideally suited for NFV virtualized environments using Docker container technology in order to scale natively across on-prem and cloud-based workflows.

Beamr HEVC & H.264 video encoding solutions are used by some of the largest video services in the world to achieve unusually high video quality at the lowest possible bitrate, while allowing their video encoding operations to operate more than two times faster than the nearest solution. Beamr optimization technology enables video encodes that are up to 50% smaller than what can be produced with even the best video encoder.

Products

Beamr Optimizer VOD

Beamr Optimizer VOD operates independent of the video encoding process as a second pass, and perfectly complements all H.264 file based encoding workflows in order to reduce the size of any H.264 video file while retaining the original perceptual quality and all bitstream parameters. Beamr Optimizer VOD outputs a 100% compliant stream with savings of 20-50% based on the complexity of the video program material. Beamr Optimizer VOD is available to be run as a standalone solution in on-prem installations as well as public and private cloud configurations.

Why do I need to encode the video before applying the Beamr optimization? Doesn’t the additional encoding pass of the video reduce quality?

The initial encode is required to provide a quality reference to Beamr Optimizer, which preserves the quality of the encoded file while reducing its bitrate as much as possible. Our quality measure guarantees that even though the video is encoded a second time, that the quality is not reduced in the process.

How can you guarantee that the Beamr Optimizer won’t hurt the quality of my files?

The technology behind the Beamr Optimizer has been tested using BT.500, the ITU standard for image quality testing. These tests have found that average users cannot identify, in a pair of videos, which video is the original and which video is the optimized version.

How much bitrate reduction should I expect on my content?

The amount of bitrate reduction depends on the type of content (action, animation, talking heads, etc.), the resolution, the initial encode bitrate, and the initial encode quality. You are welcome to send us a few sample files, without signing any papers or committing to anything, and we’ll send you back the Beamr-optimized versions of your files.

Do you support other codecs, such as HEVC, VP9 or AV1?

The Beamr Optimizer supports only H.264 video. Our Beamr 5x product and Beamr Transcoder product (which includes Beamr 5x) supports encoding and optimizing HEVC files in one pass.

Beamr Transcoder VOD


A transcoder built for modern video services requiring a scalable video transcoding function that is API based. The Beamr Transcoder VOD facilitates a simple integration with all Beamr Video Codec SDK’s and spans virtualized architectures including on-prem, public and private cloud configurations. Beamr Transcoder VOD includes the Beamr 4, Beamr 5, and Beamr 5x software encoder SDK’s and supports the most common set of requirements for MSO, telco, and OTT streaming services today.

Why we decided to build a transcoder.

The Beamr Transcoder was developed to address the needs of the market as services rush to virtualize their video workflows. This product is a clear upgrade to FFmpeg, while providing a bridge to Beamr video codec SDKs without a high technical hurdle.

How is Beamr Transcoder VOD different from FFmpeg?

A big performance advantage comes with the Multi-stream encoding function, which encodes several ABR layers at once (FFmpeg has no facility to support this). With multi-stream encoding we share analysis information from the highest quality tier to lower bit-rate tiers at the same picture size. This enables significant CPU and performance efficiencies which allow quality to be dialed up for a given job, in a given turnaround time, on a given system.

As a media processing framework, FFmpeg is good but not ideal for many video streaming services. It’s good because it is flexible, and there are many libraries and filters supporting all types of container files and audio/video codecs. It also supports any type of video transformation in the middle of the transcoding process (decode – transform – encode), scaling, frame rate conversion, color space conversion, bit depth conversion, etc., as well as filtering (noise reduction, etc.).

Because all the libraries and filters are developed separately, and in order to make everything work in every possible combination, each filter runs sequentially, passing the resulting uncompressed video frame to the next filter when ready. For performance, this isn’t optimal. When an initial processing step is finished, and the pixels or data needed for the next step are in the cache memory of the processor, it is more efficient to do the next processing step immediately, as a tightly synchronized operation, without saving the intermediate results to system memory, or worse yet, to disk.

Beamr Transcoder was designed with a single thread pool running all processing tasks, and this will outperform a media processing framework like FFmpeg that runs multiple libraries, each with their own thread pool.

When will Beamr Transcoder Live be available?

Beamr Transcoder Live will be available in Q4 2018.

Is Beamr Transcoder limited to Telcos and MSOs?

No! Beamr Transcoder is designed with the specific needs of an MSO and pay TV operator or Telco in mind. The performance advantages and architectural flexibility is applicable to OTT operators of premium and user generated (UGC) services. Specific Telco and MSO features enable dynamic advertising insertion while OTT operators will appreciate the flexibility to interface third party and proprietary packaging and DRM solutions.

Beamr Manager


Beamr Manager provides an easy to use browser based user interface that allows any number of Beamr Optimizer’s and Beamr Transcoder’s to scale seamlessly across hundreds or thousands of servers in public, private, hybrid cloud, and on-prem architectures. Three primary applications for Beamr Manager include:

1. Beamr Optimizer VOD Cluster: Manages a cluster of Beamr Optimizer nodes processing VOD files.

2. Beamr Optimizer Live Cluster: Manages a cluster of Beamr Optimizer nodes that are processing chunks of live video. This solution is applicable mostly for cDVR applications due to the added delay, but theoretically can also be used for optimizing a live OTT channel.

3. Beamr Transcoder Cluster: Manages a cluster of Beamr Transcoders.

Can the Beamr Optimizer and Beamr Transcoder work without the Manager?

Definitely. If you have a low volume of processing, you may install a single copy of the Optimizer or Transcoder and process files through the command-line interface. Note that in this case, you won’t be able to control your Transcoder or Optimizer with the REST API or Web Dashboard, since these functions are provided by the Manager.

Can I use the Beamr Manager even if I don’t have a cluster, to provide a REST API and/or Web UX for a single copy of the Beamr Optimizer or Beamr Transcoder?

Yes

Can the Beamr Manager interface to a higher-level Dashboard that provides information on my whole video workflow?

Yes, this can be done through the REST API, and if needed Beamr can supply “glue code” that will interface the Beamr Manager to external systems.

Beamr 4 H.264 Codec SDK


Beamr 4 is a robust H.264 codec SDK backed by more than ten years of codec development. It is in use by some of the industry’s largest video encoder OEM’s, broadcasters, streaming service providers, and video distributors. Beamr 4 is ideally suited for all applications from real-time live to the highest quality VOD encoding operation workflows.

Beamr 5 HEVC Codec SDK


Beamr 5 is validated as the best performing and highest quality HEVC codec SDK engine on the market. It ships in a highly scalable and flexible configuration that works on-prem, and in private/public cloud and hybrid architectures. Beamr 5 is used by the world’s largest OTT streaming service to reach more than 100 million subscribers worldwide, and it fully supports all current HDR standards with resolutions up to 8K. Beamr 5 is suited for all applications from high-quality VOD to lightning-fast broadcast low-latency (live) performance quality on Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

Beamr 5x HEVC Codec SDK with CABR


Beamr 5x combines the class leading capabilities of Beamr 5 with exceptional bitrate efficiency that is enable through Beamr's patented perceptual quality measure powering a new rate control mode called CABR. With CABR, Beamr 5x delivers a file size that is up to 50% smaller than VBR. Beamr 5x supports VOD encoding of HDR with resolutions up to 8K, and real-time live encoding of resolutions up to 720p.

Support for FFmpeg?

Beamr 5x is fully supported by the Beamr FFmpeg Plugin. Note, primary applications will be VOD since the processing speed for low latency live is not sufficient to support beyond 1080p24 in version 4.2.

Support for Beamr Transcoder VOD?

Beamr 5x is fully integrated with Beamr Transcoder VOD.

What bit-rates can be expected for HD?

The quality desired and complexity of program material determines the final bitrate, for HD, it is reasonable to expect high streaming quality under 2.0 Mbps, even as low as 1.5 Mbps.

What bit-rates can be expected for 4K?

It is reasonable to expect quality that is comparable with what Netflix is delivering, under 10 Mbps, with some lower complexity video dipping as low as 6 Mbps.

Beamr FFmpeg Plugin


Beamr FFmpeg plugin enables a familiar interface for Beamr 4, Beamr 5, and Beamr 5x codecs to interoperate simply with FFmpeg using many of the familiar commands and API’s. For workflows using FFmpeg, with the Beamr FFmpeg plugin you may easily replace open source or third-party Codec SDK’s with a Beamr Codec SDK, without requiring too much additional engineering work.

Technology

What is unique about the quality measure Beamr developed?

During six years of intensive research, we have developed a perceptual quality measure that has much higher correlation with subjective results than existing quality measures such as PSNR and SSIM. The correlation of our quality measure with subjective results has been proven in user testing according to the strict requirements of the ITU BT.500 standard for image quality testing, and verified by the Golden Eyes of Hollywood’s largest studios. The quality measure and related technologies are covered by 26 granted patents and more than 20 pending patent applications.

How much bitrate reduction can I expect from Beamr Optimizer?

This depends on the resolution, quality and content of the original video. Typically, Beamr Optimizer and the CABR mode that is used in the Beamr 5x HEVC codec SDK reduces the bitrate of streaming content by 20%-50%. The actual reduction for each file is content-dependent, enabling optimal savings, while fully preserving the original encode quality.

Does Beamr Optimizer produce a new video format?

No. Beamr Optimizer produces a fully standard H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) stream, which can be played by any media player, browser or consumer device without installing special software. In addition, the content-adaptive bitrate rate-control (CABR) found in Beamr 5x produces a fully HEVC compliant bitstream.

How does Beamr Optimizer work?

Beamr Optimizer works by analyzing the input stream using a unique highly patented perceptual quality detector, and applying the maximum amount of compression, which will not cause visible artifacts. For further details, see the technology section.

Is Beamr Optimizer a video encoder?

Beamr Optimizer is not a video encoder, but a video optimizer applied after the initial video encoding step, and before the encryption and packaging steps. Based on our patented quality measure, Beamr Video reduces the bitrate of encoded files as much as 50% without compromising their quality.

How does Beamr Optimizer handle ABR streams?

During the re-encoding step, Beamr Video places IDR frames in the output video stream at all locations that have IDR frames in the input video stream, ensuring that files prepared for ABR stream switching, remain synchronized.