At NAB this year, it was striking to see how many companies have taken advantage of GPU compute to improve the performance of their applications. Video, rendering, imaging, and effects are all tasks that can benefit from the parallelism of GPU compute. Nvidia’s CUDA and OpenGL have been around for a long time, but we’re also seeing the first of the OpenCL applications coming online.
Pro users will gain GPU-accelerated encoding with the Intel HD Graphics GPU included in Sandy Bridge processors. NVIDIA CUDA support has also been improved.
The program now offers 1- and 2-pass variable bit rate encoding for H.264-based Smooth Streaming (in the Pro version), support for more bitrate and sample rate options when using the AAC codec, and support for SRS audio encoding.
Video Codec Support : TotalCode Enterprise supports a wide range of video codecs, including H.264/AVC (up to 10-bit Intra Class), CUDA H.264/AVC, MPEG-1/2, MPEG-4 Part 2, VC-1, JPEG2000, DivX and DivX Plus.
Audio Codec Support : TotalCode Enterprise supports popular audio codecs, such as Dolby® Digital, AAC, PCM and Windows Media Audio.
Integration and Customization Capabilities : TotalCode Enterprise is based on the flexible SOAP platform enabling easy integration with common development environments, including Java, .NET and C++.
Cloud Server and Storage Support : Quickly and easily scale your TotalCode Enterprise system by utilizing private and public cloud servers and storage for encoding tasks, and as input and output locations.
Rovi Corporation today announced the availability of an updated version of its MainConcept Codec SDK (Software Development Kit). Version 9 of the SDK will enable developers to quickly take advantage of many of the very latest codec and network streaming technologies, providing them with what they need to integrate video and audio compression functionality. Rovi, developer of the industry’s leading video and audio codec library, will demonstrate Codec SDK 9 in action at IBC 2011in Hall 5, Stand A31.
Codec SDK 9 demonstrates Rovi’s breadth of entertainment offerings, which include upstream production technology used to create and distribute entertainment. Rovi’s MainConcept technologies are used by top production and broadcast brands across a wide range of professional industries, from Hollywood authoring, IPTV and streaming media to security, medical and digital signage.
New features of MainConcept SDK include: • H.264/AVC Encoder Wrapper: Enables rapid H.264/AVC implementation by providing a single API wrapper for all H.264/AVC encoders: CUDA, OpenCL, Intel Quick Sync Video, and H.264/AVC Software Encoder • H.264/AVC Smart Rendering: Enables fast editing, trimming, and copying at any frame position without requiring a complete re-encode • Enhanced Network Streaming Support: Features enhanced support for network streaming for Flash RTMP, DLNA Media Server/Renderer/Control Point and SIP IP conferencing • VC-3 Encoding Support: VC-3 codec support including Avid DNxHD compliant MXF multiplexing • Fragmented MP4 Support: Enables segmented streaming of an MP4 file as well as the multiplexing of multiple streams with different bitrates into a single MP4 file, essential for streaming in conditions with fluctuating bandwidths
Maybe some of you remember the Tarari Encoder Accelerator for Windows Media which came on market in 2005 as a FPGA loaded PCI board. It was a 10K$ investment but it could seriously boost your encoder performances and it was a transparent solution for all encoders integrating Windows Media SDK. That was maybe the only real reliable option to do HD encoding decently at that time. More confidential were the Ambric cards for accelerating MainConcept H.264 and MPEG-2 SDK, which were found to be working with Inlet Armada transcoding farm.
Since these days, Tarari boards vanished, Windows Media encoding has been somehow outshined by H.264 and CPU performances have made great jumps, but the needs for hardware accelerated encoding solutions is still there, mainly because : - H.264 encoding is also hungrily crunching CPU cycles - screen types to feed have exploded with mobile, tablets, connected TVs and all other OTT devices - adaptive streaming requires far more versions of the same file that previously mono-bitrate encodings - available rackspace is not endless and it’s not convenient to manage hundreds of encoding nodes - new formats like 3D and SVC are demanding strong encoding power - you like to play with cool high-end encoders and you have strong convincing skills when it comes to make your boss buy expen$ive hardware
So let’s take a look at the different options available on the market now !
Following our latest review of the features of Wowza Media Server, let’s now look at how to transcode video streams using this plugin. This feature is helpful when you only have a single source of high quality video and you would like to deliver the video to multiple devices. Yet another example is video stream failback to audio only in an iOS application (AppStore’s requirement), where you need an additional stream with cut-off video. A typical approach to this problem requires a transcoder (you can also generate an audio only stream using the new Adobe Media Server 5.0). Usually, a transcoder is a separate server optimized for video handling. Wowza offers an alternative: transcoding at the media server level. Let’s look at how it works in more detail.
Wowza Transcoder is a paid addon to the Wowza Media Server. It can transcode incoming video to H.264 (MPEG-4) streams tailored for different viewing devices. To run a transcoder, please install a 64-bit version of Java. Wowza Media Server supports the hardware transcoder technologies: Intel Quick Sync hardware acceleration and Nvidia CUDA hardware acceleration.
Like old-time alchemists who turned base metals into gold, Elemental Technologies, Inc. converts industry-standard CPUs and GPUs into the hottest H.264 on-demand encoding box I’ve tested, with incomparable speed and quality that matches the best in the business. While there are some notable deficits, including limited output format support and subpar VC-1 encoding performance, if you need a tool to accelerate your H.264-encoding, Elemental Server should be on the top of your list.
Squeeze 8 includes full support for the x.264 codec, featuring an intuitive user interface and in-product instructions that let video professionals adjust and optimize up to 48 major encoding parameters. These include key frame rates, encoding modes, and performance to adapt the H.264 format to user needs and workflows.
GPU acceleration via Nvidia CUDA is optimized for Squeeze 8, making it the best option for creating .mp4 proxy files in terms of both speed and quality, Sorenson says.
There are basically two ways to sustain the extensive growth of video formats that you must, as a media distributor, serve to your different clients’ target devices : the most common answer is to choose the best in breed most-powerful encoders to prepare all the target formats during the content preparation time (see Panorama article N°1 on this topic), but you can adopt a different approach saying that you want to prepare your contents once and have the distribution part of the overall workflow take care of the repackaging and protection of the contents on the fly.
Server-side repackaging of the streams consists eventually in : - choosing languages in audio and subtitle tracks available in the original mux (optional) - transcoding/transrating the video content in different sizes/bitrates from a high quality video file (optional) - applying a DRM compatible with the output format (optional) - generating the manifest file corresponding to the target adaptive streaming technology (mandatory) - remuxing and chunking the video data according to the output protocol requirements (mandatory)
Historically, repackaging was pushed as a quick solution for broadcasters to add iOS streams on top of existing Smooth or Flash streams. In a wider OTT/Adaptive Bitrate perspective, this alternative approach means : less files to manage in the main production workflow, less storage, less bandwidth to populate the origin servers, smaller time to contents’ online availability and easier support for new formats – shortly said, an agile path.
Potentially a risky one, but quite attractive…
Let's examine the available options on the market, to do it on your own platform or in the cloud !
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