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There's a lot of computing power that goes into processing video for playback on a growing list of devices - from TV screens and laptop computers to mobile phones and portable gaming systems.
But much of that work is not only unnecessary but also a waste of energy, computing power and money, according to the executives at Elemental Technologies.
The company has developed massively parallel video processing solutions - which basically utilizes both the central processing units and the graphics processing units to simultaneously work on formatting the video. The idea is that graphics chips are better equipped to handle some of the jobs involved and can lighten some of the demand on the CPU, speeding up the process.
Today, the company is announcing the beta release of an appliance - called the Elemental Server - which would reside in the data center of broadcasters, studios, online video platforms and major web video publishers, enabling them to quickly process video clips for playback anywhere the viewer wants to see it. The server will have two Intel microprocessors and four Nvidia graphics chips. The company also licenses the software, without the appliance, for customers who choose to go that route.
Company CEO Sam Blackman said that video providers are dealing not only with the challenges that come with various screen sizes and resolutions but also different connection speeds that can impact the quality of the playback. A mobile Web connection, for example, is slower than the connection that might be found in a home or office setting. To pull a seamless experience today, content owners need a big server infrastructure - something demands a lot of money, space and energy. In a statement, the company said:
Elemental Server leverages massively parallel GPUs to deliver the performance of 7 dual quad-core CPU-only servers for a fraction of the price. Not only does Elemental Server cost less than half of comparable solutions, it uses significantly less energy and requires less physical space, taking up only two rack units (2RU).
Elemental Server is particularly well-suited for the high-definition content that consumers are increasingly demanding - the system easily handles multiple HD resolution inputs and outputs, delivering faster than real-time transcoding for multiple simultaneous 1080p streams.
Online video is on the rise: YouTube is streaming movies. Broadcast networks and networks are streaming full episodes of prime-time TV shows, as well as classics. And companies today are also embracing video with everything from marketing clips to video conferencing. The computing power needed a boost from something like this. The cost savings and energy efficiency are just icing on the cake.
by Sam Diaz
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