Harmonic Launches Electra X Encoding Platform

SAN JOSE, CALIF.—Harmonic is expanding its Electra media processing product line with the introduction of Electra X, targeting broadcast and multiscreen content delivery. Harmonic says it’s the world’s first encoder family to support graphics, branding, and playout functionalities, as well as superior video quality and full-frame UHD live encoding.

Harmonic Electra X3
Powered by the Harmonic PURE Compression Engine, Electra X appliance-based media processors boost video compression efficiency across a range of formats and codecs—including MPEG-2, AVC, and HEVC codecs—over CBR, VBR, and ABR encoding schemes to support devices from handhelds to UHDTV.

The product launch initially encompasses two products, the Electra X2 (HD) and Electra X3 (UHD). The Electra X2 integrates real-time SD and HD encoding, high-quality graphics, branding, and playout functionality in a 1RU appliance. The Electra X3 advanced media processor uses Harmonic’s PURE compression engine to deliver real-time UHD formats up to 2160p60 (HEVC Main 10 profile). The Electra X3 is the industry’s first production-ready, full-frame UHD encoder in a single 2RU appliance, according to the company.

“Building on the success of our industry-leading compression family, the Electra X media processors offer a dramatic new approach to encoding,” said Bart Spriester, senior vice president of video products for Harmonic. “The Electra X simplifies content delivery operations, enabling video content and service providers to offer linear and multiscreen services from low bandwidth profiles all the way up to UHD. Plus the additional function integration can have a profound impact when deploying new services.”

“By converging broadcast and multiscreen encoding with the graphics and branding from Harmonic’s Spectrum ChannelPort integrated channel playout system, plus transport stream playout functionality, into a single, compact appliance, Electra X2 reduces the number of devices required to build a broadcast transmission chain. This approach lowers capital and operating expenditures, resulting in exceptionally low total cost of ownership,” he said.

With the Electra X2 media processor, a single interface controls multiple encoding and playout operations, simplifying setup, management, and maintenance, according to Harmonic. It offers a “pay-as-you-grow” approach to scalability, assuring that users pay only for media processing capabilities they need, enabling them to add new capabilities in the future as business requirements change. The Electra X2 media processor is managed via Harmonic’s NMX Digital Service Manager, a video network management system that includes tools to monitor and manage compressed digital media services. When paired with other NMX-controlled systems, such as Harmonic’s ProStream 9100 high-density stream processor and ProMedia X Origin multiscreen media server, the Electra X2 media processor becomes part of a scalable, converged solution for the deployment of linear broadcast and OTT video services.

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.