Originally Posted by srw1000
Is there any point at which processing power can play a larger role than the codec itself? Or is the codec always the limiting factor?
Improving processor power gets us closer to the max of what the codec can do, but it's not even close to linear.
For example, with our VC-1 implementation, going from the highest-speed mode to the highest-quality mode, might slow the codec down by 8x, while letting you drop bitrate by 20%.
I guess a better way of asking the question would be, if there was virtually no CPU limitation, what would the lowest bit rate be of an optimized codec to still produce HD content? Can processing power ever overcome today's internet bandwidth limitations?
It certainly makes it better, although computational requirements go up with frame size, and frame size is mainly limited by bandwidth, so with lower bandwidths we get more MIPS/pixel.
There were tons of demos of low-bandwidth live streaming at NAB this week. I was particularly impressed with the Inlet Spinnaker HD with VC-1. They even did a great looking 960x540 @ 1.5 Mbps, which wasn't enough bandwidth for SD only a few years ago. And there are still improvements for VC-1 for live that we're working on.
But we're certainly never going to get 1920x1080 @ 2 Mbps with existing codecs. Maybe H.265, but mature implementations of that are at least a half-decade away.