Video software

RGB Opens Up Transcoding Market

In a sign of just how dramatically the video transcoding market has changed, RGB Networks has announced that it is preparing to release an open source version of its current TransAct Transcoder product in the first quarter of next year.

The new RipCode open source project will include APIs for cloud-based orchestration and integration with other platforms. RGB Networks Inc. also plans to release an OpenStack plug-in for easy management in an OpenStack environment.

RGB was an early proponent of OpenStack. While it took some time for the cable market to open up to the open source movement, the company's position became much more tenable when Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) became an active cheerleader for OpenStack last year. (See Comcast Opens Up on OpenStack.)

Riding the cloud services wave, RGB introduced the CloudXtream OpenStack-based solution late last year and launched turnkey application suites on top of that solution for both network DVR (nDVR) and Ad Insertion for Multiscreen (AIM). The RipCode Transcoder builds on that announcement, but in this case, RGB is opening up the transcoding solution to other members of the video community for both further development and deployment. Specifically, RGB is now actively inviting cable operators and its fellow vendors to take part in the open source transcoder initiative.

In an interview, Andy Salo, vice president of product management for RGB, indicated that several Tier 1 operators in North America are planning to participate in the RipCode project. In the official press release, Simone Sassoli, vice president of marketing and business development for RGB, declared that there's been "a very positive reception from major service providers like Comcast, Charter Communications and Rogers Communications, and we expect to announce additional key partners planning to contribute to the open source effort to help accelerate innovation and adoption."

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Unfortunately, creating an open source transcoder isn't as straightforward as other open source initiatives. Because of the commercial audio and video codec market, an open source transcoding solution still requires that companies sign codec licensing deals. RGB, however, is offering to manage the commercial licensing process as a paid partner. Salo described it as the Red Hat model for transcoding, referring to Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the company that has become well known for professional open source management services.

Beyond open source management, RGB is heavily focused on sales of its nDVR and ad insertion solutions. Telecable has already deployed both software suites in Mexico, and the operator's chief operating officer, Luis E Vielma Ordonez, is now championing the new RipCode transcoding project.

In a statement, Ordonez said, "This initiative represents a game changer for the deployment of a next generation television services. It can deliver faster time to market and substantially lower licensing and maintenance costs than other solutions. Open source software delivers comparable features and quality with greater deployment flexibility, enabling a high innovation velocity for our services."

RGB VP Salo told Light Reading, "Where we've seen the transcoding market go… it's a very commoditized market." In that case, going open source may be the most sensible commercial move.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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