Sarah Cook Sep 28, 2021 10:05:56 AM 5 min read

MainConcept Expands FFmpeg Portfolio Providing More Access to their Industry-Leading Codecs

[Editor's Note: Article reprinted from InBroadcast, September 2021, Issue 9.]

FFmpeg is an open-source software solution well-suited for audio/video needs of the broadcast, streaming, surveillance, gaming, medical and other verticals. For some organizations, its flexibility and broad adoption make it the go-to package for processing multimedia files. MainConcept, long known for its high-quality and performant codecs, has had numerous requests to make their codecs available as FFmpeg plugins. In 2020, the team at MainConcept did just that with the release of HEVC, AVC and AVC Broadcast plugins for FFmpeg. Recently, MainConcept introduced FFmpeg encoder plugins for xHE-AAC as well as AVC and HEVC for Linux on ARM.

Simple Implementation, Countless Advantages

The MainConcept plugins for FFmpeg make it simple to create video and audio workflows since they can easily integrate into a new or existing FFmpeg environment or service. The plugins include advanced features not found elsewhere, such as Hybrid GPU acceleration (HEVC) and ready-to-use presets for professional production camera formats like Sony XAVC and Panasonic AVC Ultra. And these plugins utilize the same industry-leading codecs found in the MainConcept SDKs. Here are some highlights of MainConcept’s FFmpeg plugin portfolio:

Hybrid HEVC

  • GPU-accelerated modes on NVIDIA RTX boards for up to 2.5x faster encoding, conserving CPU processes for other tasks
  • Additional hardware encoding options powered by Intel Quick Sync Video and NVIDIA NVENC
  • Ready-to-use presets up to 4K for OTT content creation, MPEG-DASH & Apple HLS
  • Main and Main 10, 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 support

AVC

  • Optimized for low-bitrate encoding with superior quality and speed, up to 2x faster than open source
  • Ready-to-use presets for OTT content creation, MPEG-DASH & Apple HLS
  • Hardware encoding options powered by Intel Quick Sync Video
  • Works with FFmpeg’s built-in multiplexers such as MP4 2-pass encoding for enhanced quality in file-based workflows

AVC Broadcast

All the features of the AVC Plugin plus:

  • Encode up to 4:2:2 10-bit and up to 8K (level 6.2)
  • Pre-configured encoding profiles for professional Sony camera content creation like XAVC-Intra and XAVC Long GOP
  • Pre-configured encoding profiles for professional Panasonic camera content creation like P2 AVC-Intra, P2 AVC Ultra and P2 AVC Long GOP

xHE-AAC

This FFmpeg plugin, developed in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer-IIS team, is currently available to the MainConcept beta community. The plugin enables use of Fraunhofer’s industry-leading xHE-AAC software encoder natively in FFmpeg and supports:

  • xHE-AAC and legacy LC AAC, HE-AAC v1 and HE- AAC v2 audio formats
  • On-demand (file-to-file) xHE-AAC and live legacy AAC encoding workflows
  • Best-in-class audio featuring bitrates of 12-500 kb/s for stereo
  • Seamless audio bitrate switching for MPEG-DASH and Apple HLS
  • Mandatory loudness and dynamic range control
  • Seamless integration with the MainConcept Video Encoder Plugins for FFmpeg and FFmpeg built-in video encoders

Linux on ARM

The MainConcept HEVC, AVC and AVC Broadcast plugins for FFmpeg have been supported on Windows and Linux since their launch in 2020. With the introduction and rapid adoption of silicon built on ARM architecture, MainConcept has expanded its lineup to include the HEVC and AVC plugins for Linux on ARM, including Ubuntu and CentOS. Currently in beta, the ARM version is ideally suited for Raspberry Pi and select AWS server instances. The results are impressive with initial testing of the beta release on AWS showing a 20% cost saving as well as a 60% performance gain when compared to x86-based instances.

The plugins for FFmpeg, as well as the full MainConcept product line, are free to evaluate. For non-commercial use, the FFmpeg plugins can be purchased online. For commercial use, contact the MainConcept Sales team.

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Sarah Cook

Sarah Cook joined the MainConcept team early in 2021 and brings deep expertise in product marketing, communications, and thought leadership. Sarah has worked for some of the biggest names in technology including Dell and Cisco and holds a B.A. in English Composition with a minor in Music from the University of North Texas. She sings with and serves on the Board of Directors for Panoramic Voices, a 501(c)3 choral collaborative in Austin, TX. When she is not working or singing, you might find her walking, riding her bicycle, or at a Pilates class.