New PowerVR H.265 encoders promise big efficiency gains

Imagination Technologies is unveiling new products at the Mobile World Congress this week. Among them: the PowerVR Series5 family of video encoders, which are designed for 4K H.265 encoding and promise higher efficiency than the competition.

Three different encoder IP products make up the PowerVR Series5 lineup. They target prosumer applications, the "sweet spot" of the market, and low-end or "area-optimized" applications:

  • PowerVR E5800: This prosumer-level encoder is designed to enable 4K @ 60fps, and features enhanced color depth with 10 bits of precision, enabling video stream compliance with ITU-R rec BT.2020
  • PowerVR E5505: This high-performance encoder is targeted at products including tablets, mobile phones, home media gateways and security cameras; it is designed to enable 4K @ 30fps
  • PowerVR E5300: This area- and power-optimized encoder is ideal for wearables, camera-equipped IoT devices, entry-level mobile devices and automotive applications such as ADAS, and is designed to enable 1080p @ 60fps

According Imagination Technologies' own numbers, the prosumer-focused PowerVR E5800 encoder can achieve the same H.265 quality at up to half the bitrate of competing solutions:

Source: Imagination Technologies.

More typically, the bitrate difference at equivalent quality levels would be 30%, the company says. That's still nothing to scoff at.

Imagination attributes this efficiency disparity to the fact that it's using a fuller implementation of the H.265 toolset than its rivals. The Series5 press release also mentions "advanced search algorithms" and "optimized rate control algorithms." Whatever tricks Imagination is up to, the advantages are obvious: recorded videos can take up less storage space, and they can be uploaded and shared more quickly.

Not only that, but Series5 encoders are also "tightly integrated" with the rest of Imagination's PowerVR IP portfolio. In the company's own words:

Since we own all the blocks of IP within the multimedia subsystem, we've worked over the last few years to make sure that they all operate together with maximum efficiency, by doing things like creating a common compressed memory format that they can all share, allowing the GPU to operate on YUV frame buffers so that the output of the GPU can be used directly by the video encoder, by creating various hardware paths between these blocks so that we can have streaming solutions which avoid the use of main memory and therefore create a low-power mode of operation. So, basically, if you put the IP blocks together from Imagination, you get a multimedia system that is more than the sum of its parts.

Imagination says PowerVR Series5 encoders are available for licensing right now. The first products based on them are expected to turn up within 10-12 months, we're told.

Comments closed
    • Usacomp2k3
    • 5 years ago

    I’m hoping for 1080p H.265 for better quality streaming.

      • anotherengineer
      • 5 years ago

      I’m hoping for good health and lower property tax!!

      edit – and a warm spring and summer and fall

        • NeelyCam
        • 5 years ago

        I’m hoping for good health and higher property tax (that can then fund local libraries, schools etc.)

      • MadManOriginal
      • 5 years ago

      Higher quality streaming from Netflix/Amazon/Google due to reduced bandwidth via your monopoly ISP?

      lolol

    • strangerguy
    • 5 years ago

    If all these means that painfully obsolete AVI/XviD format can die off sooner just because some guy out there still doesn’t want to throw out their 10+ year old DVD player, more power to them.

    • smilingcrow
    • 5 years ago

    I wonder what chips are used in prosumer camcorders as the E5800 sounds more suited to that than a phone or tablet?

      • willmore
      • 5 years ago

      They’re generally custom chips designed by the camera makers and they don’t talk about what’s in them.

    • terminalrecluse
    • 5 years ago

    So the next iPhone will be able to do h265. Neat. I hope this makes it’s way to the Apple TV soon. How many of you guys have a 4k capable TV though or monitor to consume 4k video on? I don’t.

      • alexvoica
      • 5 years ago

      Given how prices for 4K screens are rapidly falling, I think most consumers will have access to one soon. I’ve seen 4K smart TVs selling for £500 in the UK.

      • Ifalna
      • 5 years ago

      I’ll buy one when I see the point.

      Currently I don’t. My eyes aren’t good enough to even see any difference (TVs) and I am not in the mood to pimp out my GFX card, so a 4K Monitor doesn’t make much sense.

        • mcnabney
        • 5 years ago

        It has nothing to do with how good your eyes are. 4k allows for a larger image to be used at the same detail. That is why 4k shouldn’t be on desktops smaller than 27″ and living room TVs under 60″.
        If you want an image that fills a big chunk of your vision (up to 60°) than 4k is for you.

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 5 years ago

      My next TV will be 4k, not because I care about the extra resolution, but because TV makers are reserving the best features only for their 4k TVs. Going forward, 1080p TVs will only occupy the low end market, which is a shame. Give me a 60inch, flat, 1080p OLED for $2500 and I’d bite.

        • Zizy
        • 5 years ago

        No such thing yet, but there is something similar: 55″ (140 cm) and curved for $2300
        [url<]http://www.eastcoasttvs.com/LG-OLED-HDTV-p/55ec9300.htm[/url<] EDIT: FHD and 4K OLED TVs in various sizes, including your 60" (152 cm) will be available shortly. Unfortunately not for 2500. You can still hope for price drop when new version is ready 🙂

          • southrncomfortjm
          • 5 years ago

          Yeah, I know that. I’m just saying, forget the 4K, which is apparently boosting the price of OLED TVs back up to the $10k range, and instead, just take that 55inch curved OLED, make it flat and 5 inches larger, and I’d pay $2500 for it.

          At this point, since LG isn’t going to give me what I want, I’ll probably just go for a 60-70inch Vizio E-Series until 60 inch OLEDS get down to the sub $3000 range.

        • rechicero
        • 5 years ago

        LG has one 55″… But it’s $2500 and curved :-(. And yes, develop OLED and forget the 4K nonsense. I can’t think of a medium to sell 4K movies and so on (OTA is still struggling with 1080… i, and with shameful bitrates), Internet would need huge connection and zero caps. And physical medium are all but abandoned. There is little sense for 4K. 4K are useless in most scenarios.

        OLED on the other hand… When you watch a movie on an OLED TV set you can only say: I want THAT.

      • blastdoor
      • 5 years ago

      Does the iPhone 6 already do h265 for FaceTime? Maybe I’m misremembering…

      • albundy
      • 5 years ago

      i refuse to budge until sony baloney and their crony pals decide to release real 4k blu-rays, not the mastered in 4k trickery that’s pissed off many people already invested in 4k. either that, or toshiba does a comeback on the HD-DVD with a higher capacity disc.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 5 years ago

        All movies with <4k source will be ‘remastered 4k’. No one can go back and reshoot every movie ever made in 4k.

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