AV Streaming Devices Technology Showcase
Jan 11, 2011 12:00 PM, By Mike McIntyre
It wasn’t too long ago that an article about AV streaming devices would have been very short and only contained some very expensive items. In fact, about five years ago, I was looking for a way to stream a live service from one church to another with good enough video quality to put it on a large projection screen. The only solution I found would have cost about $50,000—and that’s not counting what the network backbone would have cost. Fast-forward to now, and as you will see below, there have been some exciting developments. Everything from portable units that use 3G/4G cellular transmission to broadcast-quality H.264 encoders that can be viewed on desktops, proprietary decoders, and even your iPhone.
A four-time winner of the Readers’ Choice Awards from Streaming Media magazine, Digital Rapids offers a wide variety of solutions for live encoding, streaming, and archiving. In the company’s live encoder category, StreamZ and StreamZHD—which supports 720p, 1080i, and 1080p inputs and output resolutions up to 1920x1080—offer exceptional quality with many features. Not the least of these is a broad range of encoding formats to be viewed on devices as varied as IPTV set-top boxes and iPhones. All models may also be combined with Digital Rapids Broadcast Manager software for management, scheduling, and monitoring. In one box, you can capture, preprocess, encode, transcode, brand, protect, archive, and stream. An incredible set of tools for automation and integration such as RS-422 deck control, closed-caption support, GPI triggers, logging, email notification, FTP delivery, and DVD image creation allow the workflow to be organized and automated. Content protection options including YouTube Content ID and Vobile VideoDNA support—which generates fingerprints that allow automatic identification of clips on the Web—round out an encyclopedia of wonderful things these systems can do for you.
A standalone version in Digital Rapids’ live category is the TouchStream appliance. With a built-in monitor and touchscreen, it sets the standard for the one-box approach to live streaming. Applications including concerts, sporting events, newsgathering, corporate communications, and worship would be suitable venues for this device. Able to stream in multiple formats, resolutions, and bit rates simultaneously, TouchStream uses video noise reduction to minimize noise in video caused by low lighting and other conditions onsite.
Well-suited for multichannel enterprise IPTV delivery, schools, medical facilities, stadiums, auditoriums, professional training, and simulation environments is Makito from Haivision. Based on H.264 compression, it saves more than 50 percent of the bandwidth and disk space required by MPEG-2 IP video. Supporting HD up to 1080p (analog or digital), computer resolutions of up to 1920x1080 at full frame rate, or composite video, this product takes compatibility to a new level.
Furnace is an end-to-end solution for video over IP that provides a secure, simple-to-use and -deploy system for encoding and distributing live video to computers and set-top boxes. It features a zero-footprint InStream player to provide video directly to the desktop or dedicated displays using the Stingray set-top box. SD and HD H.264 video and MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 SD video may be distributed in both scenarios. A unique feature with this system is the ability to sync playback between the set-top boxes and the stream players, marrying the two delivery systems to the environment. HiLo streaming can simultaneously emit full HD bandwidth along with reduced resolutions giving users the flexibility to choose the resolution best suited to their needs and network capabilities.
With carrier-grade, low-latency video compression for IP transport incorporating full support for combined metadata applications, Piranha is perfect for applications such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR); unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV); and key length value (KLV) systems. Based around Haivision’s MPEG-4 AVC H.264 compression engine, it combines all of the features of the Hai1000 with metadata captured from one of four serial port interfaces or extracted from the vertical blanking interval (line 21 or closed caption) data space and incorporates the data information in realtime.
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