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March 2, 2011

Digital Rapids Enhances Comprehensive Encoder Family with AS02 Support, Smooth Streaming Enhancements and More

Other new features include JPEG2000, H.264 and MPEG-2 encoding enhancements, frame-compatible 3D support and more

Markham, Ontario: Digital Rapids announced today the release of version 3.4 of the Digital Rapids Stream software for the company's StreamZ, StreamZHD, Flux and DRC-Stream encoding and live streaming solutions. In addition to previously announced new features -- including frame-compatible 3D support and enhanced JPEG2000, H.264 and MPEG-2 format support -- the version 3.4 release also includes support for the MXF AS02 application specification, enhanced Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming capabilities, expanded video and audio processing plug-ins and more.

Version 3.4 enhances the Stream software's optional MXF input and output modules with support for the AS02 specification. AS02 is a constrained version of the MXF standard, designed to increase interoperability and efficiency during mastering and versioning processes.

Stream 3.4 expands Digital Rapids' robust IIS Smooth Streaming capabilities with support for low-latency Live Smooth Streaming; improved multi-encoder synchronization and failover; and enhanced subtitling and multi-language support. Support for Microsoft PlayReady DRM technology has also been extended to enable creation of H.264 (AVC) compressed media compliant with the Protected Interoperable File Format (PIFF) specification.

"Digital Rapids enables top-tier media organizations to stay at the forefront of adaptive bit rate delivery by continually supporting the latest IIS Smooth Streaming enhancements," said David Sayed, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft Corp. "Microsoft is pleased to be working closely with Digital Rapids to bring these and future Smooth Streaming advances to their customers."

New extensions to the Digital Rapids Studio AVC Encoder module add support for frame-compatible stereoscopic 3D applications. Separate left-eye and right-eye source files can be combined for side-by-side or top/bottom frame-compatible distribution, with the appropriate Frame Packing Arrangement SEI messages inserted during H.264 encoding. SEI messages can also be inserted while encoding previously-combined, single-file frame-compatible 3D sources. Frame-compatible 3D delivery combines anamorphic or sub-sampled representations of the left-eye and right-eye content for compatibility with existing television distribution infrastructures and services.

Encoding and decoding of the JPEG2000 compression format are significantly enhanced in Stream 3.4. Support for the JPEG2000 format in the YUV color space and decoding of JPEG2000 sources with separated luminance and chrominance provide increased interoperability with third-party JPEG2000-based solutions. Version 3.4 also further enhances Digital Rapids' best-in-class MPEG-2 and H.264 encoding quality, performance and deep technical configurability.

New and enhanced video and audio processing plug-ins include speed changes, 3:2 pulldown insertion, audio sample rate and bit depth conversion, Closed Caption Overlay and de-interlacing. Additional captioning-related extensions include the insertion of Closed Captions from live sources as timed text when encoding to files for viewing through Adobe® Flash® Player; Closed Caption retiming during frame rate conversion; and improved processing of ancillary data within broadcast server, acquisition and interchange file formats for increased workflow compatibility and caption handling. Other new features in version 3.4 include enhanced encoding for Apple® devices; a new integrated decoder for H.264 file sources; and a variety of minor additions and refinements.


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