Here at the CableLabs Winter Conference in Atlanta, GA, cable companies are all about bringing television content to the web. With the battle for viewer loyalty heating up, cable companies are looking for innovative solutions to bring TV programming to PC platforms, tablets and up-and-coming mobile devices. Everyone has an application for the iPad, whether it's straight-up video delivery, a program guide or an advanced remote control. Android devices are not far behind. Delivering on the promise of TV Everywhere will give cable companies a leg up in the quest for viewer retention, but at what cost?
Formatting video for multiscreen viewing radically increases the production workload – with compute-intensive video conversion presenting the primary bottleneck. Rather than add encoding resources ad infinitum, service providers need solutions that will keep costs down and efficiency up in an overtaxed video ecosystem.
The solutions Elemental brings to the CableLabs conference this week are ideally suited for large-scale deployments where the need for high performance, low cost video processing and conversion is growing exponentially. Proven to meet the needs of the most demanding content programmers, video processing systems from Elemental address the competitive challenges cable companies face in a multiscreen world.
If you’re in Atlanta this week for the show, be sure to look us up. To learn more about Elemental’s solutions for service providers, get in touch.
As media multiplies, so does the Elemental leadership team. Today, Elemental welcomes Kevin O’Hara to its board of directors. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with more than twenty years of leadership experience, ten of which came during his time as co-founder and president of Level 3 Communications, a leading provider of fiber-based communication services and one of the world's largest content delivery networks.
During his tenure with Level 3, Kevin set the company on the fast track to success by investing heavily in its infrastructure. As a result, Level 3 is now one of the most sophisticated communications companies in the world. Kevin’s leadership resulted in many successful investments to give Level 3 the momentum it needed to grow. Under Kevin’s watch, Level 3 solidified its position as one of the largest IP transit networks in North America and Europe.
Kevin brings phenomenal operating experience to the Elemental board with specific expertise in networking and IP video delivery. He was one of the first employees at Metropolitan Fiber Systems (MFS), which was acquired by Worldcom in 1996 for $14.5 billion.
When he’s is not growing startups into billion dollar enterprises, Kevin spends much of his time outdoors: skiing, hiking, and biking in the mountains of Colorado and beyond. Elemental is pleased to have an individual with Kevin's experience taking a seat on our board.
Today Elemental takes a significant step forward with the announcement of its support for the Intel® Sandy Bridge platform. By extending its architecture to perform high-speed video conversion on the 2nd Generation Intel Core™ processor family, Elemental demonstrates a breakthrough in high-speed video transcoding using general purpose parallel hardware.
Sandy Bridge processors feature a video-optimized integrated graphics architecture. A next-generation media engine and high-performance video pipeline provide access to a massively parallel graphics processor for compute-intensive video processing tasks. Elemental's software makes use of the high-performance graphics processing power available with Sandy Bridge to set unprecedented video transcoding benchmarks compared to traditional CPU-only transcoding solutions.
In this side-by-side comparison, Elemental's consumer media converter (known as Badaboom) handily outperforms iTunes in converting a ninety second video clip to a mobile profile. Using an Intel Core i7 processor and with an incoming H.264 HD video source (1280 x 720), Badaboom can perform format conversion to a 640 x 360 file suitable for the iPhone in just six seconds! Using iTunes, which leverages only the CPU rather than the available GPU-CPU hybrid architecture, the same transcode takes more than three minutes. In this use case, Badaboom peaks at over 400 frames per second and runs the conversion 32.5X faster than iTunes. At these speeds, a feature-length film can be transcoded for on-the-go viewing in a matter of minutes rather than hours.
Support for Intel's latest generation processors lays the foundation to continue delivering unprecedented video processing performance across Elemental’s product line and extends Elemental’s expertise to both NVIDIA and Intel GPUs. It also exemplifies the approach Elemental takes in developing for new technologies. As processors with parallel architectures like NVIDIA’s Fermi GPU and Intel’s Sandy Bridge become available, initial development efforts focus on our consumer product and then, as the technologies mature, we carefully integrate these solutions into our enterprise-class product line. This approach allows for development early in the processor product life cycle and keeps us at the forefront of video processing technology while ensuring stability and reliability for enterprise customers.
Badaboom clearly shows the benefits of GPU-accelerated hardware working in tandem with the CPU to deliver superior transcoding performance. Keep an eye out for the release of Badaboom 2.0 next month, featuring hardware acceleration on Intel Sandy Bridge as well as the latest NVIDIA platforms. Stay tuned!