September 10, 2009
Digital Rapids Enables Smoother Streaming and Advanced Workflows with Stream 3.1 Encoding Upgrade
IBC 2009, Amsterdam, Stand 7.G41: Digital Rapids -- the leading provider of tools and solutions for bringing television, film and web content to wider audiences -- has released a significant new version of the Stream software for the company's StreamZ, StreamZHD and DRC-Stream encoding and live streaming systems. Available immediately, version 3.1 enhancements include support for Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming adaptive bit rate technology; expanded format support including Sony's XDCAM HD422 system and RED camera files; and new features supporting downstream advertising insertion and aspect ratio management workflows.
Stream version 3.1 includes support for IIS Smooth Streaming, an HTTP-based platform for adaptive bit rate delivery of live and on-demand content to Microsoft Silverlight based media players. IIS Smooth Streaming dynamically detects the best quality a viewer can receive based on their current bandwidth and local computer conditions, seamlessly switching between multiple streams at different bit rates to deliver consistent, high-quality viewing experiences up to HD quality even under changing playback conditions. Live and on-demand IIS Smooth Streaming support is available in all system configurations running Stream 3.1 software, with live streaming at HD resolutions and IIS Smooth Streaming synchronization across multiple encoders available on StreamZHD systems.
Digital Rapids encoding systems are renowned for their easy upgradability to support new compression and file formats. Version 3.1 features expanded support for the Sony XDCAM format, including XDCAM HD422 at 50Mbps. Supporting both import and export of XDCAM media through its MXF option module, Stream 3.1 provides a seamless bridge between broadcast, acquisition and distribution workflows and the growing number of post production systems natively supporting XDCAM media. A new optional input module supports the import of R3D media files from RED Digital Cinema cameras. R3D media all the way up to RED's 4K resolution (4096x2304) can be transcoded to Stream's broad range of output formats for applications including production, distribution and archive. Standard support for the AVI file format has also been extended to include 10-bit uncompressed AVI media.
Two new Stream 3.1 capabilities enable subsequent automation in advanced distribution workflows. Active Format Description (AFD) support enables the insertion of AFD codes while encoding or transcoding media into the MPEG-2 compression format. Standardized AFD codes describe the aspect ratio and active picture area of video content. The codes are used by AFD-enabled devices further along the content distribution chain -- such as HD/SD down-converters and display devices -- to determine the optimal presentation of the content in differing aspect ratios, such as widescreen 16:9 content on a non-widescreen display.
Stream 3.1 also extends its existing advanced Transport Stream multiplexing option, built on technology from Manzanita Systems, with embedding of SCTE 35 cueing messages for digital program insertion. SCTE 35 cues are used in television distribution systems to trigger the insertion of local content such as advertising.