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Ateme thinks outside the Codec


Published: 1 June, 2012


Using a GPU to run a codec simply makes sense we have argued. It is like dropping parallelism straight into your program. But leading French contribution codec writer Ateme says that multi-threading in SandyBridge gives plenty of parallelism if you rethink the entire multi-screen process.

The problem, as we see it, is that suddenly a chip is being asked to encode or transcode to multiple file formats in multiple resolutions, in order to encode for adaptive bit rate streams that go to all manner of devices. We have heard of encode processes that require 20 plus output formats from one input.

Companies like Elemental Technologies have argued that using a GPU you can have all 20 systems running in parallel. Ateme argues something quite different in a white paper that it has just published.

Its new approach is to design software from the ground up that takes into account the fact that multiple outputs are required, and it says that what it has achieved is roughly three times as good on its new EAVC4 encoder, as it was on its previous version. It says in the white paper that file transcodes can be carried out three times as fast, so that VoD workloads are threefold; and also that live transcoding workflows, such as IPTV, can benefit by delivering three times as many linear channels per processor blade.

The design is optimized for the Intel SandyBridge chip, the successor to the existing Nehalem chips, and in its white paper it shows favorable output comparisons to some transcoders which use GPU power.

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