Elemental Shows Off 4K

Video encoding specialist displays "full frame rate" processing of 4K video in London as it preps for Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

December 11, 2013

2 Min Read
Elemental Shows Off 4K

Preparing to make a splash with 4K Ultra HD video encoding at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Elemental Technologies is showing off its latest technical capabilities and boasting about the progress that it's making with 4K.

An aggressive upstart in the video encoding market, Elemental Technologies Inc. (ETI) , staged an event in London on Tuesday to demonstrate how it can encode 4K sports programming at a bit rate of 60 frames per second. While lower frame rates might be suitable for movies and other video programming in 4K, 60 frames per second is considered the "full frame rate" for fast-moving sports action.

Elemental -- which competes against Envivio Inc. (NASDAQ: ENVI), Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT), Media Excel Inc. , Thomson Video Networks , and other vendors in the encoding space -- said it achieved the 60-frame rate using the new high-efficiency video coding (HEVC)/H.265 codec. The HEVC standard, which is about 50 percent more efficient than MPEG-4/H.264 codec, is considered crucial for encoding 4K video, which consumes four times as much bandwidth as standard HD programming.

"Unlike cinema, live sports are best viewed at higher frame rates," said Aslam Khader, chief product officer for Elemental, in a prepared statrement. "In 2014, we expect live sports to drive 4K Ultra HD adoption by those programmers and pay TV operators seeking to deliver a more compelling sports entertainment experience."

In particular, Elemental executives, who count such major sports programmers as ESPN and Eurosport among their customers, seem to have their eye on the two major quadrennial sports events coming up in 2014 -- the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia in February and soccer's World Cup tournament in Brazil next summer. Although they haven't disclosed with whom they might be working to deliver 4K programming from either event, company officials have been pointing towards both events for a while.

In 2012, Elemental teamed up with the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) , Eurosport, Canada's Broadcast Media Consortium, and Latin America's Terra to deliver HD coverage of the Summer Olympics in London. Besides ESPN, current Elemental customers include the BBC, Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) , Japan's NHK, Spain's Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), whose NBC Universal unit will feature wall-to-wall coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics in the US.

Elemental, which has been touting its 4K HEVC capabilities at broadcasting and cable industry events all year, is also claiming to be the global market leader in multiscreen and over-the-top (OTT) video processing. It cites a report issued last week by SNL Kagan that ranked the company first in transcoding both live standard digital and live HD streams in a majority of regions around the world.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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