Feature Article

October 17, 2013

SkyXcode Taps the Cloud to Give Small Operators Mobile Streaming Capabilities

Small content providers, independent cable companies, government bodies, educational institutions and others are no stranger to the digital economy, and are increasingly looking to make their content and information available on mobile devices. Unfortunately, that’s typically a capital-intensive transcoding endeavor, which has prevented many from converting their streaming studio assets into a broad range of wireless transmission formats.

Looking to eliminate capital investment and management overhead while providing redundant backup service, VideoPropulsion Interactive Television has announced the launch of SkyXcode, a cloud-based, around-the-clock, real-time service for simultaneously transcoding broadcast quality, high definition MPEG2 and MPEG4 digital video streams into numerous formats, resolutions and bandwidth, to be used in mobile and other applications requiring adaptive bit rates.

The SkyXcode service is based on collocation farms of VideoPropulsion’s FloodGate family of Hailstorm bulk transcoders, which can transcode, transrate and transhape up to 168 HD or SD streams in a 3U rack-mount unit.

“Buying dedicated transcoder hardware is an alternative, but redundant, high performance, real-time appliances cost thousands of dollars per transcode element,” the company noted. “Amortized over three years, that’s likely to be hundreds of dollars per month per stream, times how many different formats you need, and it also requires financing and management.”

SkyXcode meanwhile also performs continuous, 24/7 transcoding of MPEG digital video into one or more formats for live distribution to personal wireless devices over the Internet.

“Existing cloud transcoder services are generally file to file in non-real-time or are not available for continuous operation,” it explained. “Such services allow customers to upload a source file and transcode into another reformatted file that can subsequently be downloaded. Current costs for transcoding a 10 minute HD clip can be 30 cents or more. That cost applied to one continuous stream over a month would be over a thousand dollars. If a dozen or more different formats are needed, multiply that by 12, and you can’t actually stream content with such a service – just batch process clips.”

SkyXcode’s on-demand approach allows a customer to charter resources as they need it, paying as they go.

“This year, rates for individual stream transcodes will be only a few hundred dollars per stream per month for a short commitment, and reduce by half or more for longer term and/or higher volume,” it said. “By mid 2015, SkyXcode prices are expected to be 40 percent to 50 percent lower based on scaling and planned hardware improvements. Small content providers, independent cable companies, government and educational institutions, among others, will be able to more cost effectively transcode their studio assets to multiple wireless broadcast formats by using SkyXcode.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

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