Digital Rapids Unveils Stream 3.4 Encoder Upgrade

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Digital Rapids has unveiled a new version of the Stream software for the company's StreamZ, StreamZHD, DRC-Stream and Flux encoding and live streaming solutions. New features in Stream 3.4 include significantly enhanced JPEG2000, H.264 and MPEG-2 encoding; robust source signal handling and AC3 (Dolby(r) Digital) audio pass-through with the new Flux hardware platform; SEI message insertion for frame-compatible 3D; and further enhancements to encoding for Apple iPhone and iPad.

Stream 3.4 features significant enhancements for encoding and decoding the JPEG2000 compression format. Support for the JPEG2000 format in the YUV color space and decoding of JPEG2000 sources with separated luminance and chrominance increase flexibility and compatibility with third-party JPEG2000-based solutions. Version 3.4 also incorporates further enhancements to Digital Rapids solutions' best-in-class MPEG-2 and H.264 encoding quality, performance and deep technical configurability.

For users of encoding and streaming solutions based on Digital Rapids' new Flux hardware, Stream 3.4 features enhanced handling of irregularities or disruptions in incoming digital or analog source signals. An incoming SDI signal can even be switched between HD and SD sources without interrupting in-progress encoding and streaming. Flux-based systems also gain AC3 (Dolby Digital) audio pass-through with version 3.4, enabling AC3-compressed audio inputs to be combined with newly-encoded video without audio re-compression.

Stream 3.4 extends the Digital Rapids Studio AVC Encoder module with the ability to insert Frame Packing Arrangement SEI messages during H.264 encoding for frame-compatible stereoscopic 3D applications. Frame-compatible 3D delivery combines anamorphic or sub-sampled representations of the left-eye and right-eye content for compatibility with existing television distribution infrastructures and services. Visitors to the Digital Rapids stand at the IBC 2010 exhibition are also being treated to a preview of Multiview Video Coding (MVC) 3D encoding capabilities, which will be available in a subsequent Stream software version. MVC, used in the Blu-ray 3D specification, is an extension of the H.264 video compression specification and enables the full source resolution of each eye to be preserved during encoding for 3D viewing.

Other new features in version 3.4 include enhancements to encoding for adaptive streaming to Apple devices and a variety of minor additions and refinements.

"Version 3.4 is our third significant upgrade of the Stream software this year, each of which has added powerful new features and workflow refinements," said Darren Gallipeau, Product Manager at Digital Rapids. "Stream 3.4's enhancements and extensions to our encoding capabilities and input signal handling further extend our lead in multi-format encoding quality, versatility, performance and reliability."

The Stream 3.4 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 3.4 update will be available in Q4 as a free download for registered owners of Stream version 3.0 or higher with a current maintenance agreement, and as chargeable upgrades for users of versions 2.6 or earlier.

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