NAB Perspectives: Digital Rapids’ Nann on Converged Approach to Broadcast, Multiscreen

Digital Rapids entered the market in 2001 with the radical idea that, one day, TV would be connected to IP networks. Twelve years later, the company provides innovative media-transformation and workflow solutions for distributing video to wider audiences, including multiscreen applications.

At NAB 2013, Digital Rapids showed its expanded StreamZ Live family of live encoders, which now include the StreamZ Live 4000EX for premium multiscreen applications, the StreamZ Live 6000EX for dedicated broadcast applications, and the StreamZ Live 8000EX for converged broadcast and multiscreen deployments.

“Before, encoding for multiscreen was an add-on to a lot of services; now it’s becoming a part of media organizations’ core businesses, and, as such, the importance, significance, and reliability need to go up a little bit,” says Mike Nann, director, marketing and communications, Digital Rapids. “It used to be that, if you were watching sports on a live stream on the Web, it [dulled] in comparison to something on television. If the live stream [went] out for a couple of seconds, it [was] no big deal. That’s not the case anymore. People are now making money directly off their online offerings and their multiscreen offerings.”

The new StreamZ Live 4000EX multiscreen encoder combines the proven benefits of existing models in the line with increased fault-tolerant redundancy and expanded control capabilities for premium live and linear multiscreen encoding applications from IPTV and over-the-top services to high-profile and mission-critical live-streaming deployments. The StreamZ Live 8000EX broadcast/multiscreen encoder combines all of the capabilities of the StreamZ Live 4000EX with robust features for a converged approach to television and multiplatform streaming.

“When we would go into a major customer, major media organization, or an advanced sports organization, they typically had a core television-operations group and a new-media group, but those would be different groups, different mandates, different sets of equipment,” Nann explains. “More and more, that’s converged both from a business standpoint and a technical standpoint to the point where it makes sense to also start converging the equipment supporting it.”

At NAB 2013, Digital Rapids also showcased an array of enhancements for its recently released Transcode Manager 2.0 automated, high-volume media-processing software and its underlying Kayak dynamic workflow, including support for HEVC, 4K Ultra HD encoding, DolbyE audio decoding, and more.

“It’s very clear to everybody that [HEVC] is going to be the future and it’s going to get the same level of traction that H.264 did and faster than H.264 took over from MPEG-2,” says Nann. “Depending on the particular applications, it could be anywhere from six months to six years, because, if you’re talking about Ultra HD to everyone’s living-room TV [and] replacing set-top boxes, that’s a longer cycle. If you’re talking over-the-top services and more-efficient delivering to mobile, that’s a much more realistic short-to-midterm goal.” 

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