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ATEME — Howard Barouxis, Vice President and General Manager, Americas

Q. What kind of products or services does your company offer for broadcasters?
A broadcaster’s function and value is all about video and it is especially sensitive to video quality. If the video quality is perceived as poor or limited in some way (artifacts, delay and service interruptions) a broadcaster’s reputation and business can be seriously affected. This is where ATEME comes into the picture! ATEME provides broadcasters with best-in-class video compression at multiple points in the work flow and the eventual delivery of content to consumers.

The entire process chain, from feed acquisition to on-air broadcast or IPTV/Cable/Satellite distribution, is based on digital compression that can have an impact on picture quality. In this context, ATEME is offering innovative and future-proof solutions, so broadcasters can maintain pristine video quality in the “contribution domain” (the high-end compression link from a stadium or other live event to facility), in the “distribution domain” (encoding live content for either broadcast or IPTV/Cable/Satellite distribution) or in the “multiscreen & VOD domain” (creating content for TV, mobile and Web).

ATEME solutions do not only aim to maintain the best video quality possible, but they are tailored to enhance and streamline current head-end deployments and content workflow leading to a significant OPEX and CAPEX reductions for broadcasters and operators.

Q. What’s new that you will you exhibit at the NAB Show and that TV broadcasters should look for there?
What is new for us is definitely contribution with our release of our second generation of MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit compression based solutions. We also have some further enhancements to our “Multi-Screen” solutions for VOD to TV, Web and Mobile.

After our successful deployment of the first generation MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit compression based solutions (the world’s first by the way) in 2009, ATEME is reinforcing this leading position on the contribution market by introducing its second generation of 10-bit compression-based solutions for the sports and events links. This best-in-class innovative technology enables media transmission natively in 10 bits from one point to another … so the content is maintained throughout a Satellite/IP/MPLS network at the same resolution and picture information level as at the source.

From the multiscreen and VOD business perspective, ATEME is introducing our TITAN platform as a step-change solution for mass production and turbo processing. This dense and green hardware platform allows broadcasters to provide consumers with content in a multiple of formats for video consumption in a “TV everywhere” approach.

Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?
Leveraging hundreds of man years of expertise in video compression, ATEME has designed solutions with some of the most advanced profiles of MPEG-4 and enabled them in a true production environment. All of our live encoding solutions are offered on a flexible FPGA platform that allows us to constantly innovate and drive towards the best possible solutions for broadcasters. Unlike most of our competitors we are not locked into ASIC designs that can only offer code “tweaking.”

For instance, ATEME, as mentioned earlier, has the uniquely deployable contribution solutions of MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit technologies that have been out since 2009. That launch was made on an FPGA platform. It is one NAB Show later and we are already launching generation number two! While it is very cool to be able to offer this new technology, the really cool thing for broadcasters and real value in this technology is allowing operators to stay in a 10-bit format from the capture of the video from the cameras at an event all the way back to the main NOC where production takes place. This offer is then further combined with the advantages of the highest available bandwidth efficiency available in the market place.

Also, as a company we have paid close attention to broadcaster workflows and offered some outstanding feature sets, functionality and ease of use in an attempt to help streamline broadcaster operations.

All of this “difference” is only in contribution. I haven’t even mentioned how we are different in transcoding or live video head ends! But we will show all of this at our booth at the NAB Show.

Q. How has your company been affected by the current economic situation and what are you doing to get through it?
Actually no, we were not seriously affected by the downturn. We had some projects delayed last year, but we had a very busy Q4 and entered Q1 with a significant back log.

Many of the solutions that the company offers are exactly the products needed by operators to generate revenue. ATEME offers a family of live and offline video encoding solutions and end-to-end video head ends. All of this is needed to generate revenue. As mentioned earlier, we provide low latency and the highest quality 4:2:2 or 4:2:0, 8-bit or 10-bit contribution encoders and decoders for the encoding and transport of high value content. We offer also the same types of MPEG-4 4:2:0 SD & HD live encoders available from all the major vendors (…only with better video quality and more bandwidth efficiency).

Additionally, we offer MPEG-4 HD and SD transcoding for the file-to-file ingest of content for multiscreen delivery, archiving or VOD delivery. We offer the transcoder solution either on off-the-shelf servers in a farm environment or on our own Titan blade server platform with a turbo/FTRT upgrade path. One can see how operators would need many of these solutions as they sought to generate revenue and new business even in a down year like 2009. We expect they will need them in 2010 also.

Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
The company is headquartered outside of Paris, France, in a city named Bievres. Our Americas base of operations is in Burbank, Calif., where we maintain a sales and support office. We have about 100 employees. Many people often think of us as a start-up, but the company has been around since 1991.

ATEME first focused on engineering contract services; then we moved into IP licensing and an OEM business model. Over the last several years we have launched our own products and solutions. This all adds up to a lot of experience with video and a long focus on compression and H.264. Through all of our growth as a company, video and compression has really been in our DNA. It is core. It is what we do. This is why we are able to innovate at such a rapid pace. The progression of the company and the experience we have gained over the years is also why we feel we have some of the best R&D and engineering talent in the industry.

We are looking forward to another great NAB Show and are looking forward to seeing all of our customers in Las Vegas and also making some new friends and customers too.