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GoS introduces The Low Energy Sustainable Streaming (LESS) Accord @ IBC Accelerator Kickstart Today!

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

While news leaked out in both CSI Magazine's recent coverage, and in Faultline's Sustainability in Streaming webinar, Greening of Streaming was still getting things lined up to formally open the doors and invite input from across the industry to help the group explore ideas and options in creating an industry wide 'accord' around Low Energy Sustainable Streaming.

At today's IBC Accelerator Kickstart Dom Robinson, Founder of www.greeningofstreaming.org, will open the door to contributions to LESS seeking the first from the IBC Accelerators, and hoping to seed the challenge of industry-wide engagement in forming an industry accord around action toward Energy Efficiency!



The so called LESS Accord, aims to dig deep into the heart of the broadcast and streaming industry and ask a taboo question of an historically 'quality obsessed' industry :

“What if the ‘default’ streaming encoding profile was Energy Optimised with ‘acceptable’ quality for general viewing rather than, as it is today, Quality Optimised (and typically over provisioned) with no energy consideration?”

The fundamental idea is that in many cases consumers cannot tell the difference between various streaming and broadcast service qualities, and increasingly the industry relies on computer aided techniques to differentiate quality that humans cannot perceive.


The idea behind the LESS Accord is to 'give permission' to ask out loud what many engineers in the industry already instinctively, privately think and to explore how we might be able to deliver services that fulfil the consumers expectations without simply overselling imperceptible quality / value propositions, and creating inappropriate, expensive, unsustainable and unnecessary energy demands for no benefit to the viewer.


"It is doubtless a challenging question, and one that will ruffle a few feathers. And it may prove impossible..." notes Robinson "...however, we have got to rigorously explore the possibilities together, or else 'energy saving' strategies may simply end up being used to 'greenwash' over ever spiralling energy consumption as we take up the savings by further overdelivering of quality we get no value from, in the same way that 'offsetting' has become widely open to abuse in many sectors."


The project will span 18 months. In the first stage, starting today at IBC, GoS is inviting all stakeholders in the industry to contribute ideas (tried or simply educated guesses) about what LESS might look like, what bandwidths should be targeted, what decoding and caching strategies would work and how the end to end implementation might be put together. Even outliers and radical ideas need to be considered!


In June, at Greening of Streaming's collaborative event with Media Tech Sustainability Summit, https://www.mediatechsustainabilitysummit.com/ members will shortlist and invite those who contributed ideas that members feel can best be put to test in production, to present the ideas to a public audience, including invited policy makers, regulators and politicians. Over the summer this year the GoS members will then design tests to evaluate the energy efficiency of the best ideas, and these will be planned to be run, as far as possible, in real-world production environments.


These ideas will be presented at IBC to the broad industry community for a check and balance, and then from October '23 to March 24 testing will be run in earnest by Greening of Streaming members.


At the end of the test cycle, results will be collated and academic partners from Working Group 9 will be invited to help analyse the outputs.


The final data driven results will then be discussed at a large event planned in Burbank to engage 'Golden Eyes' from Hollywood studios and their final subjective opinion, based around the notion that 'you normally mastered these for the big screen, but based on our tests here is what the content would look like when energy optimised for mass distribution on the small(er) screen would look like - what are the 'best' in your expert opinion'.


Robinson notes - "That final event should hopefully close the loop and ensure that the greatest content producers are in accord with the production, encoding and streaming industry and - with a little luck and a trailing wind - we may be able to significantly change the direction of the industry to ensure great quality doesn't cost us the Earth!"


To find out more or to contribute an expression of interest and some ideas please visit www.greeningofstreaming.org/less



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