Digital Rapids — the leading provider of tools and solutions for bringing television, film and web content to wider audiences — today unveiled the new StreamZHD Live ABR encoder, the industry’s highest-performance Adaptive Bit Rate streaming system. The latest model in the StreamZ Live family, StreamZHD Live ABR encodes and streams live HD and SD content at unparalleled quality for delivery through the latest generation of adaptive streaming technologies.
StreamZHD Live ABR supports the Dynamic Streaming capabilities of Adobe(r) Flash Media Server(r); adaptive HTTP streaming to Apple(r) iPhone(r) mobile devices, and Microsoft(r) Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming to Microsoft(r) Silverlight(r) powered viewing experiences. StreamZHD Live ABR is also easily extensible to support additional adaptive delivery technologies, such as Adobe’s upcoming HTTP Dynamic Streaming (announced as Project Zeri).
Adaptive bit rate streaming enables higher-quality viewing experiences with television-like continuity and reliability on the Web and mobile devices. StreamZHD Live ABR creates multiple output streams at varying bit rates and resolutions from the input source. As the content is delivered to each viewer, the chosen adaptive delivery technology automatically switches between these streams to deliver the best possible quality based on the viewer’s current network and local system conditions. The results are consistent, uninterrupted viewing experiences up to HD quality even under dramatically changing network connectivity and playback conditions.
Building on Digital Rapids’ long-standing ability to output multiple formats, resolutions and bit rates simultaneously in real time, StreamZHD Live ABR provides superior encoding performance for adaptive delivery. Combinations of up to seven HD and SD streams can be output simultaneously in real time from a single StreamZHD Live ABR unit. StreamZHD Live ABR can output streams up to full 1920×1080 at 30fps in the H.264 compression format — including simultaneous 1080p and 720p outputs — and up to 720p with VC-1 compression. Multiple StreamZHD Live ABR systems can be synchronized to encode the same source for adaptive streaming applications requiring a greater number of simultaneous streams. A single StreamZHD Live ABR unit can also create outputs for multiple platforms — such as the Web and iPhone — concurrently.
Adaptive bit rate technologies also minimize the initial viewing delay typical with earlier streaming methods, providing fast start-up times approaching the immediacy of traditional television. The historical approach of content providers offering streams in two or three tiered bit rates for the viewer to select between — often with poor results under changing conditions or if viewers over-estimate their capabilities — is also no longer necessary. Viewers simply start viewing from a single engagement point, with the adaptive technologies managing the bit rate dynamically.
StreamZHD Live ABR combines all of these benefits with the proven advantages of Digital Rapids’ StreamZ Live encoder family, forming the ideal adaptive streaming platform. Advanced video pre-processing features including motion adaptive de-interlacing with pixel-level analysis and video noise reduction deliver superior visual quality with the most efficient use of bandwidth in the compressed result. Video adjustments and graphic overlay enable refinement of incoming sources and the addition of branding to output streams. Multiple StreamZHD Live ABR encoders can be combined with the scalable Digital Rapids Broadcast Manager software for enterprise-class management, automation, scheduling, multi-channel monitoring and failover.
“Our live encoding and streaming solutions have long been regarded as the quality leaders, but even with the best encoding quality, the viewing experience can be constrained by delivery challenges such as varying network bandwidth. StreamZHD Live ABR combines our superior quality and robust, enterprise-class features with advanced delivery mechanisms to significantly improve the viewer experience,” said Darren Gallipeau, Product Manager at Digital Rapids. “Higher quality and consistent reliability lead to longer viewer engagement times, which in turn offer greater monetization opportunities to content owners. Meanwhile, the exceptional performance of StreamZHD Live ABR lowers the cost of encoding for adaptive streaming by producing all of the outputs within a single unit.”
The new StreamZHD Live ABR model is now shipping. Full adaptive streaming capabilities are also available in Digital Rapids’ versatile StreamZHD multi-format, live and on-demand studio encoders.
StreamZHD Live ABR and other Digital Rapids solutions will be showcased in booth number SL6010 at the 2010 NAB Show, April 12-15 in Las Vegas. For more information about Digital Rapids, please visit www.digital-rapids.com.