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Cobalt Unveils Ultra-Low Latency Mode for 9992-ENC Encoder

(Image credit: Cobalt)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.—Cobalt announced the release of an ultra-low latency mode for its 9992-ENC software-defined broadcast encoder card series.

The new mode combines parallel processing with GDR (Gradual Decoder Refresh) and a suitable CPB (Coded Picture Buffer) to achieve encoder latencies as low as 10 milliseconds, which makes the device well-suited for broadcast applications, such as sports and news, Cobalt Digital said.

“In any sort of video compression, there is a tradeoff between three variables: latency, quality and bitrate.  Essentially, any two of these can be optimized at the expense of the third,” said Cobalt Executive Vice President of engineering Ciro Noronha.

The Cobalt 9992-ENC has always offered users a way to select the desired operating point that best meets their needs. Most relevant to latency are CPB delay and the use of GDR, which before the new mode enabled a range of latencies from as little as 100 milliseconds to more than one second for high-quality at a low bitrate, said Noronha. 

The new ultra-low latency mode reduces latency to as little as 10 milliseconds, he added, noting that this latency is lower than the intrinsic latency of the audio encoders typically used. As a result, the 9992-ENC offers LPCM audio support to bypass them.

Cobalt also has released updated firmware for its 9992-DEC with tunable latency.  When combined with the 9992-ENC, end-to-end latencies of about 100ms are achievable in HEVC mode, and about 300ms in AVC mode.

More information is available on the company’s website.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is contributing editor to TV Technology