Free Newsletter

QUICK POLL
  • Which training workshop is of most value to your organisation?
  • Preparing your business for the Internet of Things
  • The Internet of Things and Cloud computing
  • Radio technologies for connecting the Internet of Things
  • Smart Cities and intelligent infrastructure
  • WebRTC and the end of the telco
EVENTS
Meet the leaders of the mobile app economy ? Open Mobile Summit, London, June 8-9
Navigation Strategies Europe 2011
ITU Telecom World, 24-27 October 2011 at Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland
Ubiquitous Location and Positioning Technology, 6th-7th December 2011, Chicago
Advertize your telecoms job

GPUs mean encoder designs have changed forever

By PETER WHITE

Published: 11 May, 2012

READ MORE:

Building encoders used to be about putting core algorithms into chip designs, using FPGA's and ASICs. Today it is about finding as much power as you find lay your hands on and turning it to the processing of video pixels.

The industry now wants multiple HD frames, alongside many possible adaptive stream formats in different frame sizes. The classic problem is HD MPEG2 in, and the outputs are 20 plus simultaneous resolutions and formats, some HD, others transcoded for tablets, handsets, and laptops, all in one pass, taking as many shortcuts as you can along the way. All real time encoder designs are effectively obsolete.

Elemental Technologies seem to have a real edge, in that it has harnessed the parallel compute power of Nvidia GPUs - almost built from the ground up to do this type of repetitive, mathematical job, working on multiple processes in parallel.

The Cell chip, through Broadcast International, was one of the first efforts to harness native parallelism in hardware for the encoding job, but while there is a Cell chip for every PS3 in the world, there is also an Nvidia chip in each PS3, and often one in every computer. They are cheaper, because they are part and parcel of the general purpose environment you find in every blade server.

While this bodes well for Elemental, who must surely be on the acquisition list of every major encoder maker, it also lays down a challenge that every other encoder maker - they must also find a way to harness GPU parallelism, whether through the Nvidia chipset, through ATI devices, or through core designs of Imagination Technologies and ARM.

If we have to build video for 10 times as many screens and screen types as in the past, in higher and higher resolutions, what other compute resources can we find that supports parallelism and are this cheap?

Which is why some enlightened investors this week put another $13 million into Elemental and it landed yet another TV Everywhere customer at Columbia Communications, the Caribbean cable operator.

To underline how effective the approach is CEO Sam Blackman told us that at Comcast, where it powers their Xfinity encoding, "We found that Comcast Xfinity had grown to a substantial number of servers but we were able to replace five of each of these servers with just one of our own."

If those numbers sway a player like Comcast, expect them to sway many more, and for the entire science of encoding to follow the Elemental lead.

For a longer analysis of this news, request a copy of our paid sister paper Faultline from www.rethinkresearch.biz/faultline

Related Stories

COMMENTS

Add Comment
No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment!
MARKET PLACE

    European Carrier Mobile Broadband Network Performance

    Analysing and comparing the data speed, latency, network quality and smartphone penetration for 94 mobile carriers in 28 European countries....

    Next Generation Haptics: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    An in-depth study of the growing popularity of haptics-enabled tactile feedback on mobile devices to augment UI interactions and enrich...
WHITE PAPERS

    Satellite Phones: Will Dual Mode Help the Phoenix Rise from the Ashes?

    Satellite phones have followed an arduous path since their much-hyped launch more than a decade ago. The hype was followed by an e...

    Mobile Widget Platform Market Analysis: Understanding the Business Case and ROI

    This white paper presents an analysis of the mobile widget platform market, as well as metrics supporting a mobile carrier?s busin...

POST COMMENT

You must be a registered user to post a comment. or
Username *
Email *
Comment *