AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Sept. 7, 2007 — Today at IBC2007, Microsoft Corp. announced broad industry support for the Microsoft® VC-1 Encoder software development kit (SDK), a commercial offering first announced at the 2007 National Association of Broadcasters conference in April. Leading companies in digital delivery services and compression tools have taken advantage of the substantial quality and performance improvements delivered through the new SDK and are building next-generation offerings that efficiently produce pristine video imagery for a variety of distribution and consumption scenarios. Additionally recognizing the benefits of faster encoding and the value of delivering best-of-breed video quality to their customers, leading content providers have adopted the new VC-1 Encoder technology through the use of new products and tools.
In the broadband and mobile content distribution segments, Red Bee Media has chosen tools based on the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder from Anystream Inc. to rapidly repurpose and streamline the delivery of high-quality, bandwidth-efficient video content for the BBC’s innovative new iPlayer service.
“We chose Anystream Agility because it allowed us to utilize the efficiencies of the new Microsoft VC-1 Encoder to dynamically process and deliver the highest-quality video across a host of viewing scenarios,” said Bob Johnson, chief technology officer at Red Bee Media. “With its extensibility from mobile-based scenarios to the highest-quality HD optical discs, the use of the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder provides us the with flexibility to deliver content to the BBC optimized for virtually any screen and know it’s going to meet the BBC’s high standards.”
Top-tier content and service providers have also realized the benefits of Microsoft VC-1 Encoder technology in creating high-definition (HD) content for HD optical disc titles as well as broadband video on demand. European facilities CMC, DMP, Sonopress, Imagion AG and DS&DVD and U.S. facilities GDMX, Deluxe and Blink Digital (an Ascent Media company) are all delivering next-generation HD DVD and/or Blu-ray titles using the technology. In addition, Microsoft and Amazon.com recently announced a program for independent filmmakers allowing them to publish up to 1,000 HD DVD titles with no set up fee through CreateSpace, part of the Amazon group of companies, which uses the new VC-1 Encoder technology to produce high- quality, on-demand optical media titles. To date, over 85 percent of all HD DVD titles available in the U.S. have been encoded using VC-1.
In response to the efficiencies and quality of the new product, Microsoft’s popular Xbox LIVE® Marketplace, with its high standards for quality and bandwidth, has also adopted the SDK and has committed to delivering only video created with SDK-based tools. Microsoft Silverlight™, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering next-generation media, also supports content generated from products based on the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder SDK, among others.
“As digital delivery matures, high-fidelity display devices proliferate, and consumer expectations continue to rise, content providers are recognizing the value of delivering superior-quality video to their customers,” said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of the Consumer Media Technology Group at Microsoft. “The Microsoft VC-1 Encoder SDK gives solution providers access to features and capabilities developed through years of experience with the Hollywood encoding facilities, generating the award-winning video quality seen on HD DVD today.”
Among the first to develop products based on the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder SDK are world-class solution providers Anystream, Envivio Inc., Harmonic Inc., Inlet Technologies, Memory-Tech Corp., Tarari Inc. and ViewCast Corp.
Anystream Agility. Anystream Agility is a solution for on-demand media production and publishing. Since its launch, Agility has been embraced by the world’s leading media companies by helping them supply the burgeoning demand for video in a wide variety of formats. Anystream Agility automates and streamlines the time-consuming, specialized production workflows required to deliver video content to the exploding number of outlets and devices around the world. By optimizing multiplatform content production, Agility enables content owners to profitably exploit and scale new media business models.
Envivio 4Caster C4. The Envivio Convergence Generation Series 4Caster C4 is a multichannel, multicodec real-time encoder that fits into an Internet Protocol-based ecosystem to receive, decode, encode and transmit programming via IP. The C4 can encode in Windows Media® Video (VC-1), H.264 and AVS in resolutions targeting standard-definition Internet Protocol television (IPTV) and Internet TV. The design of the C4 allows service providers to protect their investment by providing a solution that can be easily configured to support a variety of formats within one unit.
Harmonic Rhozet Carbon Coder and Carbon Server. Carbon Coder is a stand-alone application that handles transcoding between all major video compression formats, as well as providing a host of additional functions such as standards conversion, logo insertion and time code burn-in. Carbon Server is a management tool that manages a network of Carbon Coder engines to accelerate transcoding for high-volume applications.
Inlet Technologies Fathom and Spinnaker. Fathom is an advanced encoding platform that solves the problem of managing multiple output formats for different viewing devices and allows the targeting of any playback device, all from a single user interface. Spinnaker is a streaming solution that delivers quality video and audio for live media delivery applications such as IPTV; Web streaming; public, education and government (PEG) channels; broadband TV; and enterprise, education or government video.
Memory-Tech Digital Movie Factory Pro HD. Designed for user-friendly workflow, Digital Movie Factory Pro HD combines the quality of the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder with template-based compression and HDi interactivity software to provide a powerful but streamlined tool for HD DVD creation. Features include multiple audio tracks, subtitles, full Advanced Access Content System (AACS) support, and output to HD DVD-R disc and WinDVD HD.
Tarari Encoder Accelerator for Windows Media. Tarari provides hardware and software acceleration of computing-intensive processes that are too difficult for general-purpose CPUs to process in a reasonable time frame. The Tarari Encoder Accelerator for Windows Media supports hundreds of encoder applications and accelerates VC-1 encoding to speeds three to 18 times faster than software alone.
ViewCast Niagara SCX Pro and Niagara Streaming Systems. ViewCast’s Niagara SCX Pro encoding management platform puts users in control with a comprehensive set of user tools and integration Web services to manage and deliver live and on-demand streaming content. Niagara Streaming Systems are turnkey solutions for the acquisition, digitization, compression and streaming of audio and video for Internet and intranet delivery.
The ability of companies to build innovative products using the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder SDK originated with the parallel encoding tool Microsoft developed to help studios encode the next generation of high-definition optical discs. That tool is now openly available from Sonic Solutions as its CineVision PSE product. CineVision PSE features powerful server-based encoding technology, stunning cinematic-quality encoding, extensive VC-1 parameter control, stream legalization and segment-based re-encoding.
More information regarding specifications and licensing of the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder SDK can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/resources/mediaandentertainment/ibc2007/vc-1.mspx.
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