SVG Sit-Down: TVU Networks’ Paul Shen Is Bullish on Growth of HEVC

Company founder/CEO says all TVU solutions will be HEVC-ready by NAB Show

HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) has spent the past few years pushing its way into the mainstream on the backend of video production and distribution, and, with the inclusion of the video-compression standard in the latest versions of Apple’s iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, 2018 may be a breakout year for HEVC on the consumer side as well.

A developer of IP-based video solutions, TVU Networks and founder/CEO Paul Shen are naturally bullish on HEVC and its ability to dramatically increase bandwidth efficiency. SVG caught up with Shen to discuss how HEVC is impacting his business and how he sees it impacting the sports world in the very near term.

TVU Networks’ Paul Shen: “It’s all about bandwidth efficiency. HEVC can deliver very high quality at about half of bandwidth at which H.264 can deliver today.”

What about HEVC, in your mind, has the industry pushing for it? What does it bring to live video?
Bandwidth efficiency. It’s all about bandwidth efficiency. It can deliver very high quality at about half of the bandwidth at which H.264 can deliver today.

Related to that, it’s a cost-reduction. This industry will always continue to push for reduction of cost. In our applications, such as TVU One, data cost is a big component. If we can significantly reduce the bandwidth usage, then we are saving tremendously for our users. In fact, when we look at our equipment, we think a lot of our customers can recoup their investment in a very short time window: 18 months.

What would you like to see potentially happen in the months leading up to NAB 2018 in the timeline of HEVC’s push forward?
I will say that the industry is pushing tremendously toward HEVC on the backend, namely in the acquisition, distribution, and transmission. That equipment is not a concern on the consumer end. Consumer set-top boxes today are much more difficult to switch from H.264 to HEVC, but, on the professional end, the adoption is very quick.

At TVU, the smaller TVU One has seen its delivery exceed all of the other, past products added together. So the industry is moving very, very fast towards HEVC.

You’ve outlined it a little bit already, but how has HEVC already become a part of what your team does? How have you started to develop solutions around it?
We are moving all of our product lines that are currently using H.264 to HEVC. All of our product lines are moving in that direction. By the NAB Show, all of our products will be HEVC-ready.

An important part of our solutions is that they are all software-based; even though we deliver hardware, our HEVC encoder is software-based. So jumping from H.264 to H.265 for our TVU One is just a software option.

How will this specifically impact the sports industry, in your mind? Does sports have a special place in all of this?
Yes, of course. If you look at today’s sports content, a lot of it is not telecast. The expense of the production on acquisition is too expensive to telecast all of those events. As we continue to drive down the cost not only on the transmission but on the production side, you will see many more sports events covered and telecast.

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