HEVC media optimization

Do you have a large collection of video media files not using HEVC (H265) yet? There is a massive amount of disk space coming your way if you flick over to the new video codec format.

HEVC definitely lives up to its name, for most media you can expect a 70% or more disk savings from transcoding from an old codec. There are some catches though… If you want your TV to play it direct (i.e. straight off the file) the codec will need to be supported by it. You can of course get around this by using a media server such as Plex or Emby which will transcode from HEVC back to a compatible format.

Why would you do this? – again, disk space. HEVC as stated above can reduced you Media footprint significantly. You could boost your quality and save your disk space at the same time by recording at a higher resolution then applying the HEVC codec.

I created a powershell script to transcode my media to HEVC using my AMD graphics card. The advantage of doing this is that transcoding completed by my GPU is significantly faster than my CPU. I do not have the graphics card in my media server, so instead connect via SMB and let my gaming machine run the transcoding from remote…

The powershell script uses ffmpeg to ;

  • transcodes video stream to hevc using AMD h/w encoder
  • copys all existing audio and subtitles (i.e. no conversion)
  • works in batches (to prevent constant scanning of files) – able to set max batch size and processing time before re-scanning disk
  • overwrites source with new HEVC transcode if move_file = 1 (WARNING this is default!)
  • checks to see if video codec is already HEVC (if so, skips)
  • writes transcode.log for successful transcode (duration and space savings)
  • writes skip.log for already hevc and failed transcodes (used to skip in next loop, errors in transcode.log)

Check here for updates and script – https://github.com/dwtaylornz/hevcamdwin

bye bye http – hello letsencrypt

I’ve been a fan of HTTP and caching since my dial-up modem.

Skip to today where google returns HTTPS sites higher in its search results. Its could also be possible that you cannot trust a man in the middle HTTP cache any longer either right? :)

SSL certs have traditionally been expensive, but say welcome to lets encrypt which provides a free way of securing all of your websites. If you haven’t heard of it check it out here – https://letsencrypt.org/

As always i’ve implemented my LetsEncrypt trial via docker. The container image i have been using has been put together by the linuxserver guys  – https://hub.docker.com/r/linuxserver/letsencrypt/
(i use a few of their container images, they seem legit)

This container image comes ready to roll with Nginx built in which can act as a reverse proxy to your unsecured websites at the back-end. I’ll be testing it for the next few days to see how it stacks up, but so far so good. Nginx is fast, so a good transition if only to offload all my SSL traffic. If all goes well it will be the end of my squid reverse proxy which i have used happily for many years.

In the past http had the performance, certs were too difficult (but are they?) and expensive to implement and i was a fan of my sites being cached. New times are here, SSL (TLS) rules supreme.

On another note, HTTP 1 sites are dwindling, SPDY didnt last long but apparently some of that has been built into HTTP/2 – exciting!

Check out these links for some interesting reading on performance –
https://samrueby.com/2015/01/26/why-is-https-faster-than-http/
http://www.httpvshttps.com/

Handy link for testing if your site is using HTTP2 – https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/

netdata – live server metrics

If your looking for a really good opensource realtime resource monitoring tool check out netdata.io

Very light, looks great and is super fast. I have it running as a docker instance on my unraid server (which runs this website, and a couple of other docker instances).

If you want to show extra info about containers / docker running on your host add the following host mappings;

container <- host

/var/run/docker.sock  <–  /var/run/docker.sock
/host/proc  <–  /proc
/host/sys  <–  sys

Lots of metrics, check out the website here – https://github.com/firehol/netdata