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Comcast using upgraded Elemental tech for VOD

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 3:00pm
Brian Santo

Comcast will be using an upgraded version of Elemental Technologies’ video processing system to begin optimizing the delivery of linear video on demand.

Comcast had previously used Elemental’s products to help deliver video on Xfinity.

Elemental Technologies specializes in multiscreen content delivery systems, with specific expertise in software optimized to take advantage of an architecture that combines GPUs and CPUs. The company today announced it has launched NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerator and Intel Sandy Bridge-based versions of its Elemental Live and Elemental Server products to double the performance of its previous generation solutions.

Comcast has been putting these systems through their paces at its Dry Creek facility in Colorado, one of its national distribution points for VOD, the majority of which is still being delivered in the MPEG-2 format.

Dave Higgins, vice president video quality and reliability for Comcast Cable said the company has been receiving higher-quality mezzanine files from programmers; in combination with the Elemental servers, the company has been seeing improvements in both bandwidth efficiency and video quality.

“You usually get one or the other,” Higgins said. “In this case we’re getting both, and that’s what’s so exciting for us.

“The migration path Elemental offers has allowed us to significantly increase our video transport quality and efficiency as the market demand for multiscreen video continues to grow,” Higgins said. 

Along with the processor upgrades across its product line, Elemental has new form factors available from SuperMicro, Dell, and HP that offer more flexible workflow choices. Customers can opt for systems with a dual power supply, in a desktop form factor and with a quieter chassis. Additional options include ASI input, Pro-MPEG support, and cloud-based video processing, the company said.

“Pay TV operators, content owners and broadcasters are seeking to expand platforms for next generation multiscreen video workflows that can support requirements such as ultra-high definition resolutions, HEVC and MPEG-DASH,” said Sam Blackman, CEO and co-founder of Elemental.

“By leveraging NVIDIA Kepler-based Tesla GPUs, Elemental is harnessing the most powerful programmable architecture on the market today, offering customers unmatched video processing quality, flexibility and performance,” he said.

At the same time, Elemental announced version 2.0 of its video processing software, with unified support for multiple codecs, delivery standards and content protection technologies. The comprehensive functionality available with the latest Elemental software lets customers across market segments more widely deploy and monetize multiscreen video services.

“With our most recent release, Elemental offers a flexible software architecture appropriate for pay TV operators, content programmers, studio and post-production houses, sports rights-holders and more,” said Keith Wymbs, VP marketing at Elemental. “Paired with the performance and throughput capabilities of our live and file-based video processing solutions, customers reap the rewards of our software-based approach to large-scale video deployments.”

Designed to support next-generation GPU and CPU architectures, release 2.0 is now available for Elemental’s suite of products for video processing, packaging and streaming live and on-demand video.

Features and benefits include:

Increased performance – With next-generation processor architectures and an optimized video pipeline, Elemental systems offer double the performance and density of previous generation solutions in a single RU footprint. Increased throughput allows customers to bring multiscreen assets to market more quickly and in a smaller footprint, the company said.

Comprehensive codec support – Support for multiple codecs running simultaneously on a single platform provides customers with a seamless migration path from existing video delivery standards to future compression technologies. Elemental solutions offer MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1 and HEVC / H.265 encoding with patented compression technology as well as support for JPEG 2000 and ProRes mezzanine assets.

Current and future standards – In addition to support for common video streaming protocols such as Adobe RTMP and HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS), Microsoft Smooth Streaming and Apple HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Elemental software supports newly emerging technologies including MPEG-DASH, Ultraviolet and 4K Ultra HD.

Advanced encryption and protection – Secure content with a variety of integrated technologies including Civolution forensic watermarking for both live and VOD content, Adobe Flash Access, Apple Sample-AES and Microsoft PlayReady as well as DRM solutions from NDS, Verimatrix and Widevine.

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