4K/8K Video

Beamr Buys Vanguard in Latest Encoder Deal

The consolidating video encoder space just got a little more... consolidated.

Video optimization company Beamr Imaging Ltd. announced today that it's acquiring encoding specialist Vanguard Video in a deal that will close on April 1. Beamr hasn't disclosed the size of the buyout, but it did take on a new $15 million round of funding to complete the acquisition. The company said it plans to keep all of the employees joining from Vanguard and hire more people as well.

Beamr's own solutions are part of a wave of perceptual video processing technologies that try to eliminate unnecessary information in an image without compromising the viewing experience. (See Video Pre-Processing Promises Bandwidth Boost.)

According to Beamr, it can reduce bitrates up to 50%, making video faster and cheaper to transport. Paired with compression technology from Vanguard, the company hopes to deliver a complete, but also best-of-breed solution that delivers the highest video quality with the minimum amount of network impact.

In particular, Beamr is hoping to make a splash in the 4K/8K video market with Vanguard's h.264 and HEVC encoding solutions. The company is also now targeting cable companies after focusing for years on the film studio industry.

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Vanguard, meanwhile, brings its own customer base and significant engineering staff to the Beamr deal. The encoding company includes brands such as Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Imagine Communications and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) in its customer roster and boasts more than 40 engineers.

Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn points out that the Vanguard acquisition also gives Beamr a unique opportunity to compete against Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). While Amazon recently rolled up Elemental to address the encoding market, there are many cable companies that won't want to use an Amazon solution when Amazon also sells its own competitive online video service. (See Amazon Acquires Elemental for AWS and IP Video Services Explode at IBC.)

In addition to the timing of the deal, which appears ideal given the coming 4K/Ultra HD video upgrade, Rayburn calls the combination of Beamr and Vanguard "an excellent way to ensure the highest quality for a given bitrate."

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, with additional reporting by Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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