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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Sep 9

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9/9/2009 4:13 PM  RssIcon

Digital Rapids’ StreamZHD Studio Media Encoding ServerSeptember 9, 2009 -- IBC 2009, Amsterdam, Stand 7.G41: Digital Rapids -- the leading provider of tools and solutions for bringing television, film and web content to wider audiences -- has released a significant new version of the Stream software for the company’s StreamZ, StreamZHD and DRC-Stream encoding and live streaming systems. Available immediately, version 3.1 enhancements include support for Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming adaptive bit rate technology; expanded format support including Sony’s XDCAM HD422 system and RED camera files; and new features supporting downstream advertising insertion and aspect ratio management workflows.

Stream version 3.1 includes support for IIS Smooth Streaming, an HTTP-based platform for adaptive bit rate delivery of live and on-demand content to Microsoft Silverlight based media players. IIS Smooth Streaming dynamically detects the best quality a viewer can receive based on their current bandwidth and local computer conditions, seamlessly switching between multiple streams at different bit rates to deliver consistent, high-quality viewing experiences up to HD quality even under changing playback conditions. Live and on-demand IIS Smooth Streaming support is available in all system configurations running Stream 3.1 software, with live streaming at HD resolutions and IIS Smooth Streaming synchronization across multiple encoders available on StreamZHD systems.

Digital Rapids encoding systems are renowned for their easy upgradability to support new compression and file formats. Version 3.1 features expanded support for the Sony XDCAM format, including XDCAM HD422 at 50Mbps. Supporting both import and export of XDCAM media through its MXF option module, Stream 3.1 provides a seamless bridge between broadcast, acquisition and distribution workflows and the growing number of post production systems natively supporting XDCAM media. A new optional input module supports the import of R3D media files from RED Digital Cinema cameras. R3D media all the way up to RED's 4K resolution (4096x2304) can be transcoded to Stream's broad range of output formats for applications including production, distribution and archive. Standard support for the AVI file format has also been extended to include 10-bit uncompressed AVI media.

Two new Stream 3.1 capabilities enable subsequent automation in advanced distribution workflows. Active Format Description (AFD) support enables the insertion of AFD codes while encoding or transcoding media into the MPEG-2 compression format. Standardized AFD codes describe the aspect ratio and active picture area of video content. The codes are used by AFD-enabled devices further along the content distribution chain -- such as HD/SD down-converters and display devices -- to determine the optimal presentation of the content in differing aspect ratios, such as widescreen 16:9 content on a non-widescreen display.

Stream 3.1 also extends its existing advanced Transport Stream multiplexing option, built on technology from Manzanita Systems, with embedding of SCTE 35 cueing messages for digital program insertion. SCTE 35 cues are used in television distribution systems to trigger the insertion of local content such as advertising.

Other new features in version 3.1 include support for DXFP Timed Text files as Closed Captioning sources, and a variety of minor enhancements and refinements.

"Stream 3.1 continues our expansion from the ingest and distribution edges of media workflows into the core of production, broadcast and cable operations," said Brian Stevenson, Director of Product Management at Digital Rapids Corporation. "Meanwhile, support for live and on-demand IIS7 Smooth Streaming helps narrow the quality and reliability gap between 'traditional' television and Internet viewing, enabling HD-quality experiences on the Web and increasing viewer engagement times."

The Stream 3.1 software is available in two software configurations -- the core Stream LE and the advanced Stream FE with expanded workflow automation, integration capabilities and format support. A comparison of feature availability between the two levels is available on our website.

The version 3.1 update is available as a free download for registered owners of Stream version 3.0, and as chargeable upgrades for users of versions 2.6 or earlier. Optional format modules are available individually or in select bundles for easy ordering.

Digital Rapids' encoding solutions deliver multi-format video ingest, encoding, transcoding and live streaming in versatile configurations. Combining the quality and performance advantages of hardware-based preprocessing with the format flexibility of software codecs and a feature-rich software application, Digital Rapids systems seamlessly support multi-platform distribution opportunities and multi-format workflows with real-time, simultaneous encoding to multiple output formats.

The complete line of Digital Rapids solutions is being showcased in stand number 7.G41 at the IBC Conference and Exhibition, September 11-15 in Amsterdam. For more information, please visit www.digital-rapids.com.

About Digital Rapids Corporation – Digital Rapids develops market-leading hardware and software solutions for transforming and delivering media, enabling the multi-platform experiences that are defining the future of digital video. Scaling from individual applications to enterprise and global operations, Digital Rapids systems span the critical points in today's complex media workflows. Recipient of two prestigious Frost & Sullivan awards in the World Video Encoders and Transcoders market, Digital Rapids combines innovative technology with proven expertise to help our customers maximize their productivity, quality, and the value of their content in the evolving digital media market. Digital Rapids Corporation (www.digital-rapids.com) is headquartered in Ontario, Canada with offices in the United States, the UK, Australia, Argentina and Hong Kong.

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