2010 Archive - AWS Elemental Blog

Video Processing Perspectives

2010 Archive - AWS Elemental Blog
2010 Archive - AWS Elemental Blog
Submitted by whitney on April 23, 2010

This year’s highly anticipated NAB show started strong with a state of the industry address from Gordon Smith, the newly appointed president and CEO of NAB (and one of our own as former Oregon state Senator).  From what we heard and experienced on the show floor, the event was a huge success, showcasing innovative technologies from industry leaders and illuminating the bright future of broadcasting in new media. 

According to NAB, more than 85,000 audio, video and film content professionals attended the show. Consistent with last year, the show attracted an exceptional crowd of influential decision makers from top corporations representing 157 countries.

3D was the main buzz throughout the huge convention center, with Dolby, Panasonic, NVIDIA and many others demonstrating the latest in cutting-edge 3D technologies for video editing, display and production. The big question still remains: How quickly will mainstream consumers adopt and thus demand the 3D experience? While demonstrationg in the editing pavilion at the Panasonic booth, we overheard a lot of talk about 3D camera capture and displays. Panasonic is confident that 3D stands for "dollars, dollars, dollars" in the very near term.

In total, there were five technology demonstrations of Elemental products in three locations on the show floor, including with Hewlett-Packard, where Elemental Server was spotlighted in the “New Media” section of HP’s booth.

Crowds at NAB

Heavy foot traffic in the Elemental booth at NAB 2010

Our booth drew a considerable crowd of interested parties, ranging from traditional broadcasters and cable companies to new media ventures. We demonstrated several products, including the recently launched Elemental Live, which is a GPU-accelerated enterprise-class video processing system that provides content distributors with video and audio encoding for live streaming to new media platforms. 

Of more than 1,500 exhibitors, Elemental was one of only ten presented a Mario Award recognizing the forward thinking and technical excellence of Elemental Live. It's an honor to be in the company of the other winners including Sony, Dolby and Panasonic. Many awarded products from prior years have gone on to significantly impact the future of video technology and we believe Elemental Live is on a similar trajectory to change the game when it comes to video encoding for live events.

Overall, we believe the show was a great success. While there are other shows right around the corner, including Streaming Media East in NYC May 11-12 (Elemental will be in booth 319), we are enthusiastically looking forward to NAB 2011 and the new products and technologies we'll see in a year's time!

Submitted by Eli on April 14, 2010

Last week, when Butler’s Gordon Hayward’s half-court heave at the buzzer rimmed off and crowned Duke champion of the 2010 Men’s NCAA Tournament, it marked the end to two incredible weeks…of live streaming.  NCAA March Madness On Demand, offered free of charge for online viewers, was once again a slam dunk for CBS Sports. 

NCAA Screenshot

Some of the numbers:

  • 11.7 million hours of live streaming video (up 36% from last year) were consumed by 8.3 million unique visitors (up 10% from last year). 
  • 575,000 unique visitors (up 70% from last year) watched the tournament’s final game and consumed 368,000 hours of live streaming video (up 72% from last year).
  • The “Boss Button,” which disguises basketball-watching by instantly pulling up a spreadsheet, was clicked 3.94 million times, up 42% from last year.

What does this all mean?  The popularity of live streaming of sports online continues its rapid ascension.  One would think a Duke/Butler final, with 99% of the world long eliminated from their office pools (myself included!), would not draw nearly the number of viewers as the North Carolina/Michigan State final from a year ago, let alone 70% more!

Careful, CBS…you probably cost yourself in the TV ratings of the tournament games, right?  Nope. March Madness On Demand is “all additive, not cannibalistic,” emphasized CBSSports.com general manager Jason Kint.  The TV ratings were up 5% from last year and CBS sold out its online advertising inventory for the tournament well before it started, bringing in $37 million in online ad sales.  One clever move was that though the user could switch between games being played simultaneously, this was only an option during live action.  When a timeout was called and the game switched to an advertisement, the user was locked into the ad and had to wait until play resumed to check out coverage of another game.

The streaming quality itself was steadily improved from last year.  MMOD employed adaptive bit rate streaming this year, something Elemental knows very well.  Soon, you won’t be able to find a quality live streaming experience that doesn’t take advantage of adaptive bit rate streaming technology.  It’s an exciting time to be a sports fan that can't get enough.

Only 337 days until the 2011 NCAA Tournament!  While the outcome of the NCAA Tournament may have lost significance for me when Kentucky went down, the game-tracking definitely did not.  My eyes were still glued to the television screen...and the computer monitor...and the mobile device...!

Submitted by Sam on April 5, 2010

Today, we announced the next step in the evolution of Elemental's enterprise-class product line: Elemental Live. Over the past two years, we've brought an array of products to market, ranging from a high-speed encoder for professional video editors to our new video processing system for live event streaming. With each product, we have focused our development on dramatically improving the end-user workflow by speeding up video processing and conversion using GPUs and maximizing video quality through proprietary codecs, designed in-house. We've upped the ante again, challenging the video processing paradigm with Elemental Live's features that streamline the live event production and delivery workflow.

Elemental Live Workflow

2. Designed From The Ground Up – Codecs may not seem like a workflow inhibitor, but they can really slow down a video processing and streaming workflow. Since Elemental architected our own codecs (H.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1)  for the GPU, it's like having a mechanic for a brother. What takes other companies weeks, we can swiftly diagnose and fix in days to get operators back to streaming in no time. Using proprietary algorithms designed specifically for the GPU, Elemental Live delivers the fastest, most efficient anti-alias scaling, motion adaptive deinterlacing and deblocking. Elemental’s intelligent algorithms reduce cost, improve performance, and deliver quality video output without impacting price or usability.

3. It's Easy to Manage, Operate and Monitor – Initial beta customers have been able to get an Elemental Live system up and running in minutes (literally, we've seen it) within their existing infrastructure. The easy management extends to the production environment with stream control in real time and the ability to automate actions and events for more reliable content. Smart Archive is a unique feature inspired by our hands-on experience early in the dev. cycle streaming keynote presentations at the GPU Technology Conference in October, 2009. Smart Archive enables instant posting of high-quality VOD replays with a simple GUI for start/stop control of streams sent to archive. Also, save cycles through one-click automated publishing to all popular CDNS and lower the cost of content delivery.

4. The Audio's Better Too – This is not always the case with online video, nonetheless, live streaming content. Our real-time control extends to audio processing effects, including support for multiple audio tracks, which provide the best possible sound. Intelligent audio muxing allows audio channels to be combined with a single video stream. This creates unique streams customized for the end user at no additional processing cost. A win-win for all.

5. Cost-effective On All Fronts – One Elemental Live system can replace four CPU-only appliances. This is significant when you're thinking about scaling for a data center or outputting twice as many streams for a live event compared to a prior one. With Elemental Live, there are fewer systems to do the work, less capital expense up front, less operating expense needed for power, cooling and rack space, and a considerable savings in overall management time. If the other four reasons aren't enough, this reason alone is why you need Elemental Live in your workflow.

Check it out yourself. Watch the Elemental Live Streaming Demo.