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Artesyn Embedded Technologies Launches SharpCaster™ Accelerator to Simplify, Speed and Save When Deploying Broadcast Video

SharpCasterAccelerates time to market by over nine months and reduces development costs by over $500,000


At NAB Show, Artesyn Embedded Technologies, formerly Emerson Network Power’s Embedded Computing & Power business, today launched the SharpCaster™ video transcode acceleration engine to speed the deployment and lower the cost of rolling out broadcast video applications on standard servers. Artesyn estimates development savings of at least $500,000 plus a time saving of nine months or more for customers adopting its SharpCaster accelerator versus developing their own solution.


Artesyn’s SharpCaster accelerator is aimed at broadcast and streaming equipment such as encoders, transcoders, video on demand (VOD) playout servers, and video content delivery network (CDN) servers, estimated by Infonetics Research to be a $1.39 billion market in 2013 and expected to grow at 4.1 percent from 2012 to 2017*.


Available as either a plug-in PCI Express card for easy deployment in a customer’s own server or as a pre-configured Artesyn server, the SharpCaster video accelerator can eliminate the need for proprietary appliances and associated support infrastructure for broadcast quality video. A SharpCaster solution can offer a similar footprint and density as dedicated video processing appliances, but gives customers the flexibility of using more readily available servers as hardware platforms. Compared to software-based alternatives, a SharpCaster accelerator offers better density, less rack footprint, and more high-quality features such as hierarchical motion estimation with large search ranges, all available mode decisions, and up to 80 Mbps Context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding (CABAC). With its versatile form factor, as customers upgrade or change their servers, the SharpCaster card can continue to be deployed in the new infrastructure, meaning a smooth deployment experience.


Jeff Heynen, principal analyst, broadband access and pay TV, Infonetics Research, said, “Increasing competition and content is driving a transition from traditional, broadcast-focused video processing environments, to ones that can deliver multiscreen and multi-format video - in addition to improvements in the quality of existing broadcast video services. The transition is heating up globally and Artesyn’s SharpCaster accelerator is perfectly timed for the sustained investments in video infrastructure required. The ability to use standard server architectures with a common media processing platform across a myriad of infrastructure elements and multiple generations of equipment is a compelling argument.”


Linsey Miller, director of marketing for server acceleration, Artesyn Embedded Technologies, said, “With the shift to IP and cloud deployment, there is a growing preference by operators for broadcast solutions based on standard servers, with no dedicated hardware. Artesyn’s SharpCaster video transcoder addresses the growing need for rapidly deployable transcoding engines that can support multiple formats and end points. It offers the channel density and feature capability to accommodate multiplatform – both traditional and multiscreen - large scale distribution at higher resolutions. And the business case is hard to ignore: hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of development time saved.”


A new Artesyn white paper outlines the changes in broadcast equipment driving the need for a complete change to the cost model that enables broadcast equipment vendors to make better use of their available resources by innovating in software-based solutions.


Using proven transcode-class media processing silicon, Magnum D7 Pro and its robust library of transcoding and encoding API support, a single Artesyn SharpCaster accelerator card can support up to 8x HD channels or 16x 720p ABR multiscreen channels. Using a common hardware base, the solution can be software-configured to address multiple applications across the broadcast network from content generation through production, primary and secondary distribution to enterprise or multiple dwelling unit (MDU). Configurations include transcoding for linear broadcasting, adaptive bit rate streaming for multiple devices, and high and standard definition video and audio encoding.


Artesyn’s SharpCaster accelerator is a half-length, full-height PCI Express card, which makes it universally-deployable in a variety of 1U and 2U standard servers. With interfaces for both PCI Express and optional SDI input connectors, the Artesyn SharpCaster accelerator enables access to both baseband video and transport streams.


* Source: Broadcast and Streaming Video Equipment and Pay TV Subscribers Biannual Worldwide and Regional Market Size and Forecasts: 2nd Edition. November 18, 2013. Infonetics Research, Inc.


About Artesyn Embedded Technologies
Artesyn Embedded Technologies is a global leader in the design and manufacture of highly reliable power conversion and embedded computing solutions for a wide range of industries including communications, computing, medical, military, aerospace and industrial. For more than 40 years, customers have trusted Artesyn to help them accelerate time-to-market and reduce risk with cost-effective advanced network computing and power conversion solutions. Artesyn has over 20,000 employees worldwide across nine engineering centers of excellence, five world-class manufacturing facilities, and global sales and support offices.