Netflix recently unveiled its latest stride in enhancing High Dynamic Range (HDR) video quality across all devices.
The newly introduced format, HDR-VMAF (Video Multimethod Assessment Fusion), employs Netflix’s proprietary machine learning technology, Dynamically Optimized encoding.
The primary goal is to deliver a consistent and superior video experience, irrespective of the device used.
In a detailed post on the Netflix Tech Blog, the streaming giant shared insights into the HDR-VMAF technology.
This advancement comes in response to Netflix’s ongoing efforts to expand its collection of 4K titles and accommodate an ever-growing range of devices.
The objective is to ensure that subscribers enjoy a consistently robust video quality, leading to an enhanced overall viewing experience.
According to the Netflix Tech Blog, this means content will appear clearer with more defined details.
A key aspect of HDR-VMAF is its use of signals, rather than display characteristics, to measure HDR quality.
This approach allows for better control of streaming quality across devices, making the system “format-agnostic.”
This term implies that video playback remains consistent, regardless of the device in use, ensuring that videos play at their peak luminance with balanced black levels and a broad color range.
Netflix initiated HDR videos back in 2016 and began development on VMAF in 2020.
While in-person testing faced delays due to the pandemic, Netflix collaborated with Dolby Laboratories to conduct extensive testing of its 4K-HDR content.
The tests were performed on high-end OLED panels in precisely calibrated conditions within participants’ homes.
The HDR-DO (Dynamically Optimized) testing phase occurred throughout the latter half of 2021, and by June of the following year, Netflix successfully optimized its entire HDR catalog with VMAF.
One of the notable benefits of optimizing all HDR content to VMAF is a reduction in Netflix’s storage footprint, internet data usage, and, most importantly, an improvement in video quality for its members.
Subscribers can anticipate a 40% reduction in buffering when streaming HDR content, coupled with higher video quality and lower play delays.
This optimization also promises a more consistent video quality across various devices, minimizing internet data usage—especially beneficial for mobile devices and tablets.
While Netflix developed HDR-VMAF primarily for its internal requirements, the company has expressed a commitment to supporting the open-source community.
Netflix aims to ensure that HDR-VMAF technology is stable, versatile, and user-friendly before an official release.
This dedication aligns with the company’s broader strategy of fostering collaboration and innovation within the tech community.
In conclusion, Netflix’s introduction of HDR-VMAF marks a significant step forward in the pursuit of universal HDR video quality.
The focus on a format-agnostic approach and the commitment to open-source development reflect Netflix’s dedication to providing an optimal streaming experience for its diverse and ever-expanding subscriber base.
As HDR-VMAF undergoes further refinement, Netflix users can look forward to a seamless and enhanced viewing experience across all their devices.