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July 26, 2011, 5:43 p.m.
Sam Rosen Practice Director
Comcast is aggressively positioning its Xfinity platform to reduce churn and engage its customers in ways similar to Netflix and Hulu. Elemental Technologies and thePlatform recently announced they were the technology providers for Comcast’s Xfinity TV application.
thePlatform (a Comcast subsidiary based in Seattle) is a web publishing platform that handles content acquisition (bringing cable content to the web), content preparation (overseeing farms of transcoders that bring the content into the right format), and distribution. The platform also handles subscriber management and revenue generation (advertising). While thePlatform has no direct competitors, other ways of implementing this type of solution include online video publishing platforms such as Brightcove, or technology / workflow companies such as Telestream.
Elemental technology offers a very dense video transcoding solution based on nVidia GPUs. Note that Elemental is not the exclusive provider for thePlatform; it also supports platforms from Digital Rapids, Rhozet (now part of Harmonic) as well as Telestream.
In our Worldwide Pay TV Encoder and Transcoder Market report, we described Elemental and its technology.
Elemental Technologies is a Portland, Oregon-based venture capital-funded company developing video encoders using nVidia GPUs. The founders came from Pixelworks, while other management team members have experience at Omneon and Motorola. Elemental has live and file-based products dedicated to high-quality, live, multiformat encoding and transcoding. Elemental claims the high floating point (GFLOP) performance of GPUs enables it to offer very high-quality video from a standard platform, enabling multiple resolutions of streaming output from a single server.
Elemental has a significant number of trials and a few customer deployments in 2010 and is expecting a significant ramp up in unit shipments during 2011. Notable design wins include encoding for ABC’s iPad application and video behind MLB.com and the BigTen network. At the IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) in September, 2010, Elemental teamed with Microsoft to demonstrate live Microsoft Smooth streaming with 1080p 3D source video from Hamburg, Germany to the show floor in the Netherlands.
Thisannouncement from Comcastmarks Elemental's most significant announced deployment to date; one of many events signalling they are moving from start-up mode to revenue production mode.