Big Blue planning HD video breakthrough

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IBM is planning to introduce a new encoding system that will allow video providers to stream HD video at a lean 3Mbps..

Big Blue developed the system in partnership with software company Broadcast International. The two companies plan to showcase the system next week at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas.

The system uses Broadcast International's encoding software running on top of an IBM BladeCenter server running the company's CellBE processor. The companies claim that the new system will allow for an 80 per cent reduction in the amount of bandwidth needed to stream HD videos.

"That’s the industry’s holy grail," declared Ron Tiede, Broadcast International's chief executive.

"Our demonstrations shatter the bandwidth barrier completely, offering unprecedented compression and transcoding in both live and real-time environments."

The companies credit the super-high compression rates, which are said to be four to six times higher than standard MPEG 2 encoders, to a combination of the Cell chip and software encoders.

Because the software can be updated to comply with changing standards and specifications, the two companies are labelling the systems as "future proof".

"Right now there are literally billions of dollars in video compression infrastructure that will have to be thrown away when new standards like h.264 are adopted," said Tiede.

"You don’t have to throw out your computer every time Microsoft launches a new version of software. Why should you have to throw away a $50,000 piece of equipment like an encoder?"
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