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Hilversum, 18 June 2021

Analysis of Essential Video Coding (EVC) Added To Zond 265

The New EVC Codec

MPEG-5 Essential Video Coding (EVC) is a new video compression standard proposed by Samsung, Huawei and Qualcomm. It has been developed with the following requirements in mind:

  • Coding efficiency comparable to HEVC, but without the licensing restrictions that have hindered the widespread adoption of HEVC;
  • Complexity suitable for real time encoding and decoding;
  • The ability to address existing and emerging use cases, including offline encoding for streaming VOD and live OTT streaming.

Two profiles (sets of coding tools) have been defined for EVC:

  • Baseline - Royalty free.
    Coding tools that are at least 20 years old, or submitted with a "royalty-free" declaration.

    Performance: Similar quality to H.264, at ~31% lower bitrate.

  • Main - Higher performance, but royalty-bearing.
    Adds a small number of additional tools, each providing a significant improvement in compression performance. The tools are isolated from each other so that they can be switched on/off independently.

    Performance: Similar quality to HEVC Main 10, at ~26% lower bitrate.

EVC Support in Zond 265

Zond 265 is an in-depth viewer and analyzer of HEVC bitstreams. Version 5 now adds full support for EVC bitstreams.

Zond 265 main window

Figure 1. Zond 265 main window with open EVC bitstream.

The software shows the frame sizes in a chart as shown below.

Frame structure

Figure 2. Frame size bar chart: red bars = I frames, green bars = B frames.

Information Windows

The Stream Stats window contains general statistics about the EVC bitstream file as a whole, such as bitrate, average frame size, resolution and number of frames. The Toolset info window shows which 'tools' (features) have been enabled for encoding the current bitstream. Finally, the Bitstream tab shows the NAL units in the bitstream file, and their parameters.

File and GOP Info

Toolset info

Bitstream info

Figure 3. The different stream information and statistics windows in Zond 265.

EVC Analysis Features

Zond 265 supports the following analysis functions for EVC (in a similar way to HEVC):

  • View images at various stages of decoding.
  • Show different aspects of the encoding structure in the context of the decoded image: Picture type, Color components, Tile boundaries, Prediction partitions, Transform partitions, Motion vectors, and Compression detail.

    Prediction partitions

    Figure 4. Prediction partitions displayed on top of the decoded image.

  • Compute quality metrics such as PSNR, MSSIM and VMAF.
  • Show statistics about the decoding process of the current frame.
  • View detailed information about all coded units and transform blocks.
  • Generate reports in CSV or JSON format, containing bitstream statistics such as file info, bitstream headers, frame statistics, and quality metrics.

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