MPEG-5 Part 2 (LCEVC)
MPEG-5 part 2 LCEVC (Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding) is the latest standard by MPEG and ISO.
This website aims to be a resource for video engineers looking to learn more about this unique enhancement standard. It covers information about the standard itself as well as a wealth of resources to support organisations and individuals implementing and deploying LCEVC.
In doing so, it aims to facilitate the adoption of the MPEG-5 Part 2 LCEVC standard, which can be deployed in software on existing workflows and devices.
MPEG-5 Part 2 Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding “LCEVC” is a new video standard by MPEG. It specifies an enhancement layer which, when combined with a base video encoded with a separate codec, produces an enhanced video stream. It is suitable for software processing implementation with sustainable power consumption. The enhancement stream provides new features such as:
- Extending the compression capability of the base codec
- Lowering encoding and decoding complexity
- Providing a platform for additional future enhancements
The Market Needs
In October 2018, 28 industry signatories presented outlining market needs and requirements for a software-based capability extension on top of existing and future video codecs. (MPEG membership required)
They claimed that “despite surging demand for video, it is often difficult – or prohibitively costly – to deliver the high video quality that most end users expect. For instance, in most countries bandwidth availability is often insufficient for reliable delivery of OTT video content. Video sessions on mobile devices and in prime time “internet rush hours” are characterized by worse bandwidth availabilities.
They added that the combination of legacy devices and long replacement cycles “makes it difficult to upgrade video services to higher resolutions and frame rates (e.g., 1080p60, 4K, 8K) without either ignoring customers with legacy video devices or creating duplicate services for new devices. The consequent low availability of higher resolution services reduces the demand for newer decoder devices, in a vicious cycle.”
Signatories were industry leaders active in live and VoD streaming, videoconferencing, VR, broadcast video and real-time video feeds for industrial applications.
The MPEG Requirements
In response to that request, MPEG issued a set of requirements for a new video coding standard and a Call for Proposals for those companies and organizations that have developed video compression technology that they believe address the requirements.
The Requirements set define a codec that allows a full resolution encoded/decoded stream being formed from enhancing a stream encoded/decoded with a hardware codec and a data stream which, when added to the coded/decoded stream, would bring the video to the full resolution.
In particular, the key performance requirements were defined as follows:
- When enhancing an n-th generation codec (e.g., AVC), compression efficiency for the aggregate stream is appreciably higher than that of the n-th generation MPEG codec used at full resolution and as close as possible to that of the (n+1)-th generation codec (e.g., HEVC) used at full resolution, at bandwidths and operating conditions relevant to mass market distribution; and
- Encoding and decoding complexity for the aggregate full resolution video (i.e., base plus enhancement) shall be comparable with that of the base encoder or decoder, respectively, when used alone at full resolution.
The key implementation and non-technical requirements for the video coding project were:
- The video stream should be decodable without specific firmware or OS support by all devices capable to decode the base codec, with equivalent resource utilization (e.g., processing power, battery consumption, etc.) as the base decoder at full resolution decoded in hardware;
- The additional data stream should be compatible with the existing ecosystem, e.g. ad insertion, metadata management, CDNs, DRM/CA and network protocols such as DASH, HLS, MMT and SS;
- The overall processing power requirement to encode a video stream should be comparable with that of the base codec when used alone at full resolution.
Multiple independent tests and cross-checks conducted during the MPEG collaborative phase of standardization demonstrated that LCEVC successfully satisfies its requirements (see technical documentation and performance evaluations in the Resources section for a summary of tests performed and LCEVC performance results).
Roadmap for Standardization
“The SBTVD project has selected some of the most innovative and promising technologies available today anywhere in the world, like MPEG-5 LCEVC. The selection and combination of these technologies makes the upcoming TV 3.0 not only a breakthrough project for Brazil, but for anywhere else contemplating similar tech leaps. I am very proud of what we have achieved so far and looking forward to its launch expected in 2024.”
“We have been extremely excited with the game-changing opportunities presented by MPEG-5 LCEVC. It will change the world of sports, media & entertainment video delivery, providing a better service at a substantially lower cost. I am also convinced that it will play an important role in our journey towards zero latency. We are definitely looking to become an early adopter.”
“We’ve evaluated LCEVC-enhancement with our AVC and HEVC encoders and have been very impressed by the results particularly for important new use cases like 8k delivery. LCEVC is the very definition of a future-proof technology by virtue of working with both existing and future codecs, and we look forward to further exploring its integration across our codec line-up.”
“We turned to a technology called LCEVC that is tipped for big things (…) as it allows any existing encoding pipeline, whether running AVC, HEVC, VP9, AV1 and soon VVC, to achieve the same or better quality as a next-generation codec at the same bitrate and at up to 4x lower computational complexity”
“We have been supporters of the MPEG-5 LCEVC initiative from the outset. Delivering the highest quality content efficiently to tens of millions of viewers on all networks and devices requires technology that is at the same time effective, cost-efficient and pervasive. A retrofittable and backward-compatible enhancement standard gives us the opportunity to rapidly improve our video delivery on top of the workflows we have today and for a wide audience, speeding up time to impact”
LCEVC supporters at recent tradeshows
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