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Transcoding and Codec Optimization: Tips & Tricks

Media transcoding, which enables media interoperation, plays an important role in the digital home. The Intel Networked Media Product Requirements (INMPR) promotes interoperation between networked devices in the digital home. Optimizing the codec engine (the encoder/decoder, the heart of the transcoder) will make the media transcoding process more efficient, in turn improving the user experience in the digital home. This paper features practical tips and tricks on how to increase the performance of the codec engine. These tips include using Intel® VTune™ Performance Analyzer events, OpenMP for threading, and Prescott New Instructions (Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 (Intel® SSE3)). We also discuss when to use faster instructions, employing different execution units to improve parallelism, and when to use MMX™ instead of SSE for speed. You will also learn when to take advantage of the Intel compiler optimized switches.

What is Transcoding?

Since content comes in many different formats, transcoding is necessary to tailor the content, converting one media format to another, before it arrives at the other device. The most common way to convert one media format to another is to first decode to raw data, then encode to the target format. Since an MPEG stream consists of audio and video, we need to split these separately and decode them into raw data before re-encoding them to the desired formats and merging them again.


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