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Technology Showcase: Web Video Streaming Gear

May 6, 2009 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles

Sending video to the Web has become push-button easy.

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The incredibly simple front-panel layout of the new TouchStream web-streaming appliance from Digital Rapids belies its operational versatility in an easy-to-deploy form factor. The unit uses the same video-preprocessing capability as the other streaming encoders from Digital Rapids including advanced de-interlacing with pixel-level motion adaptation, scaling, and filtering. Low-light situations generating noise in the video are countered by the TouchStream’s 2D and 3D video-noise-reduction features. Dynamic range compression/expansion in the audio preprocessing assures smooth sound levels, and there is a graphic overlay feature that provides the option of using a superimposed logo or other branding graphic to the outgoing stream. Formats include AVC/H.264 for Adobe Flash Player 9, VC-1 for Windows Media Player, On2 Technologies VP6, 3GPP, and MPEG-2. The front panel includes both a video monitor and an audio-level meter.

Primarily designed for the IPTV market with multiple MPEG-2 channel capability, the rackmounted 4 Caster C4 from Envivio can include optional encoding capability for picture-in-picture, 3G mobile TV applications, and Internet video streaming in resolutions up to VGA. For Internet applications, the unit can provide content for playback with Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime Player, and the VideoLAN VLC player with up to four standard-definition inputs. Also included are IP inputs and outputs to reduce video head-end cost and complexity. Options also include an analog or digital video and audio inputs interface. Reliability is enhanced with dual hot-swappable power supplies and redundant Ethernet interfaces. A web-based user interface provides built-in control and monitoring, and Simple Network Management Protocol Management Information Base (SNMP MIB) allows monitoring by an external network-management system. The unit includes a pass-through for audio, program and system information, and encapsulated data.

Fully compatible with HaiVision’s haiPlay and QuickTime players, the HaiVision Oscar H.264/MPEG-4 AVC encoder/decoder can deliver DVD-quality video at up to 1.5Mbps to storage servers or for distribution in an IPTV, QuickTime, or podcast environment. The unit can input composite or S-Video and stereo sound in a fanless chassis, and three units can be mounted in one rack space. The rear panel includes LED indicators along with connectors for serial and IP interfaces, 3.5mm stereo audio input, composite, and S-Video inputs, as well as 12VDC power connection. Last year, the company announced direct compatibility between the Oscar encoder/decoder and the Wowza Media Server Pro platform for live Flash H.264 content delivery. Oscar is targeted for streaming live Flash content from remote events or on campuses where many classrooms could need live delivery in a standard Flash environment.

Inlet Technologies Spinnaker 7000

Inlet Technologies Spinnaker 7000

The new Spinnaker 7000 from Inlet Technologies provides live HD streaming and H.264 over broadband networks with HD streams at up to 720p resolution in either VC-1, H.264, or Flash VP6. Through BNC connections, the inputs can accept 1080p, 1080i, and 720p over HD-SDI (SMPTE 259M) and standard-definition formats with embedded stereo sound, or it can input audio through XLR connectors or an AES audio input. The unit also streams in multiple formats simultaneously; supports Flash cue points for VP6 and H.264; includes scheduling for one-time or recurring events; and supports closed captioning, open captioning, and inserting metadata into the video stream. The Spinnaker 7000 can be set up and operated from the controls on the front panel or managed remotely through a web interface or SNMP. Various technical parameters are grouped into setups that can be selected for simple and quick configuration.

Kulabyte of San Markos, Texas, offers the XStreamCast Nomad as a small, transportable, carry-on unit for streaming HD/SD video using the AJA Xena LHe I/O capture card with a single input and output and webcasting to viewers using Adobe Flash Player 9 or 10. The unit can encode video at up to 720p at remarkably low bandwidth, and it is compatible with Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5; Wowza Media Server Pro; and Akamai, Limelight, Mogulus, Edgecast, CDNetworks, and other qualified content-delivery networks. The unit can also accept 2-channel AES audio, SMPTE 259-embedded audio, and analog stereo. The XStreamCast products come with the company’s XStream Live software preloaded and fully configured with a graphical user interface for customizing encoding parameters. All the user needs to do is configure the Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) publishing point and click Encode.

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