Compressing differently: NESTED reduces the environmental impact of video delivery

Reduced energy consumption for the same video quality

NESTED offers a video broadcast ecosystem optimized for 5G. The consortium developing it is led by Ateme, in partnership with Orange and its subsidiary Viaccess-Orca.

NESTED – for “New vidEo STandards for Enhanced Delivery” – provides a promising solution for streaming multimedia content. The project is the result of a collaboration between different partners determined to limit the energy impact of digital technology. They are exploring different avenues at all levels of delivery: automatic change of the delivery format, adaptation of the resolution to the screen used, etc. The aim is to offer users the best video quality, while reducing the energy consumption of terminals and network equipment as much as possible.

On the network side

The consortium is led by Ateme, a company specializing in video compression and distribution, which gave life to the NESTED project. To reduce the impact of video transmission on the network, NESTED relies on certain properties of the Common Media Application Format (CMAF). Initiated by Microsoft and Apple and standardized by MPEG, CMAF is compatible with all Android and iOS devices. For NESTED, Ateme has also implemented a new VVC/H.266 codec that is more efficient than the state-of-the-art HEVC/H.265. This reduces the carbon impact of video distribution.

On the Player Side

At the other end of the chain, Orange subsidiary Viaccess-Orca integrates a secure video player. This player offers an experience that is true to users’ expectations, with the added bonus of energy efficiency. The gains come from NESTED’s ability to switch from one broadcast mode to another: from unicast, where each stream is transmitted individually, to multicast, where the same stream is sent to multiple users. The transition occurs automatically during video playback, without any visual impact for the user. This innovation is brought by the Brittany-based French Tech ENENSYS, which is also behind the receiver installed on various devices (smartphones, tablets, smart TV, etc.). In order to boost the gains from encoding, the video player includes a “versatile video coding” (VVC) decoder designed at the Institute of Electronics and Digital Technologies (IETR).

The user’s share

Popular on large screens, viewing video in 4K does not improve perceptions on mobile screens. Based on this principle, the Viaccess-Orca secure player offers an “eco-friendly” mode. It offers the user the opportunity to reduce his carbon footprint by choosing a resolution better suited to his equipment. The new player is also able to evaluate in real time the energy consumption of the micro-processor linked to the video viewing. In the near future, it will also take into account the power consumption of the modem, the screen and so on, in order to provide precise information to the user, allowing him to adapt his way of consuming video.

Optimized for 5G

Launched two years ago, the development of the NESTED project will end in spring 2023. Most of its advances will be deployable on current equipment after a simple software upgrade. But the full impact of the solution will be realized in three to five years, in the context of 5G SA (Stand Alone). 5G, which requires receiving streams in pure OTT (over the top) form, leads to increased network load for certain uses, such as receiving traditional TV channels. By anticipating the multimedia broadcasting of tomorrow, NESTED wants to deliver high quality services while preserving the environment.