ClearVR 7: our biggest release ever

ClearVR 7: our biggest release ever

While we were working on our next major release, the world around us changed. Our office is now eerily quiet with everyone working from home. With Slack calls replacing the busy office chatter, we’re more busy than ever!

Amidst all this, we finished and released the biggest upgrade to our ClearVR SDK and platform ever: ClearVR 7.

The new ClearVR release adds a host of new functions, features and functionality to the ClearVR SDK and ClearVR Cloud encoding platform, both for Live and VoD. Most of the new features come at the request of our customers, and there are many general improvements and under-the-hood optimisations.

Let’s see what ClearVR 7 has in store:

– Support for rendering directly to Oculus OVROverlay layers for both 360, 180 and rectilinear content for a butter-smooth head motion response (on devices supporting OVROverlay layers);
– A completely rewritten encoding core resulting in meaningful bitrate reductions of up to 30% for both live and on-demand content (for the experts: among other things, ClearVR 7 adds additional GOP layers to our tiles);
– Playback of ‘regular’ HLS and progressive MP4 streams video in the SDK, e.g. for virtual cinemas.
– Playback of legacy, non-tiled content (both 360, 180, planar and rectilinear) through our ClearVR SDK, allowing our customers to use a single set of APIs for playback of all their content, whether it is omnidirectional content, traditional video in virtual cinemas, or regular playback on mobile devices;
– Support for tiled “planar” content with virtually unlimited resolution (we’ve done 16K on a device with a 4K decoder, but look forward to going much higher still);
– Integrated filters in ClearVR Cloud (Live), e.g. for sharpening. Supports tuning in real-time to respond to changing lighting conditions and camera settings;
– Even lower latency-to-high-resolution after head motion;
– Significant rewrite of our multi-platform ClearVRCore code, resulting in reduced CPU usage and lower power consumption;
– Further reduction of our already extremely low camera switching times in multi-cam productions – both live and on-demand;
– Completely new Native SDKs for Android and iOS for customers that don’t rely on Unity;
– Many smaller improvements and optimisations.
– Beta version of ClearVR Secure, adding support for Widevine DRM on supported devices!

Any Kind of Video

One SDK now supports playback of any kind of video: tiled and legacy (non-tiled), VR and “rectangular” content, and soon even DRM-protected content! That includes any combination of those. We are particularly excited to finally be adding support for tiled “planar” content at extremely high resolutions.

So if you wanted a virtual cinema feed in a headset, ClearVR can do that. Want to deploy two stitched 8K broadcast cameras and let users pan, and zoom in 16K content without quality loss on their current iPhone? ClearVR can do that too. And remember that ClearVR already supported VR360 at 12K stereoscopic and 16K monoscopic resolutions on the newest devices that have an 8K decoder. That includes the Samsung S10 and the Skyworth headset, for example.

The new release means significantly increased performance and lower resource use, at the same time. Moreover, the new SDK release is fully backward-compatible with existing ClearVR content, and now also supports existing mp4 and HLS content. No need to re-encode anything. ClearVR-based applications are now in use on well over 600 device/model/OS combinations, so the technology is tried and tested.

High-Value Content in the Highest Quality

We have provided ClearVR 7 to customers for integration. We have also released new ClearVR 7 versions of our free ClearVR demo applications for Oculus, Pico, Android, and iOS. And more is coming. A few select customers will receive a beta version of our first Windows SDK shortly.

Lastly, we are happy to have laid the groundwork for supporting DRM-protected content. This will shortly allow us to encrypt our customers’ content and integrate with their DRM solutions. The higher the quality of the content and the more valuable that content is, the more important protection becomes. And that is certainly the direction in which our customers are headed: bringing high value content to their users in the highest possible quality.

Whether in trying times like today’s, or when the world resumes its normal operation, remote participation in events will become a much more integral part of our work and leisure. With ClearVR, we help making that remote presence as “real” and as scalable as possible.

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Any questions on the new release, or any of the other features we support? Drop me a note!

Ray van Brandenburg, CTO (ray@tiledmedia.com)



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