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Buyer’s Briefs: Encoders Decoded

If you’re streaming video or distributing video to multiple sources, you’ll have to consider your encoding requirements—how you’ll be converting your data for distribution. When preparing to purchase hardware or software, or utilize an encoding service, it’s necessary to evaluate each product’s ability to handle a range of codecs, containers and bit rates. Here are nine encoding products and services designed to take your content across multiple platforms, affordably and efficiently.

ICR-1101 Transcoder

AmberFin’s ICR-1101 transcoder makes easy work of delivering content in a multiformat video world. It accommodates a wide range of video file formats and effortlessly performs up/down/cross-conversion. In addition, it allows users to resize images and includes rewrapping software. The ICR-1101 features adaptive deinterlacing to accommodate mixed sources, including film and both interlaced and progressively scanned video. State-of-the art algorithms provide sharp images without ringing or other conversion artifacts. The transcoder is designed for easy operation, with most processing done with preset controls. Sharpening and softening are available for matching difficult images


Brightcove’s Zencoder is cloud-based video and audio encoding software as a service (SaaS). Customers connect to the Zencoder API for encoding of live and on-demand video into formats compatible with web playback, mobile streaming or viewing on other devices. Zencoder’s business model is that the service provides enterprise-class encoding for less than the cost of hosting and maintaining your own transcoding engine. Zencoder’s cloud infrastructure provides instant scalability, giving users the power of large encoding clusters without having to pay for idle server time. Brightcove guarantees a 99.9 percent uptime on all Zencoder plans, ensuring that customers never have to worry about reaching their audiences.

MultiStreamer Brutus I IP/IP

DVEO’s MultiStreamer Brutus I IP/IP is a 4 RU transcoder that streams video at up to 1080 line resolution. It accepts and streams both MPEG-2 and H.264 signals and works at 1 to 15 Mb/s. The unit can sit in the cloud to generate high, medium or low bit rate streams and supports HTTP adaptive Smooth and Live stream protocol for outputting to mobile devices. It can convert incoming SD streams to HD and perform scaling operations. The MultiStreamer Brutus I IP/IP is based on embedded Linux and runs on 10 blades, each with 16 Intel Xeon cores, and can support up to 400 SD streams, 200 720p streams and 100 1080p/i streams.
Video Encoding Service Provider provides video encoding services for more than 1,500 entertainment, telecommunications, retail, advertising and other types of companies. It allows publishers and developers to enter the market without having to make expensive video infrastructure commitments. supports all popular web and mobile video formats with proprietary technology for accelerated processing, error reduction and optimization of video for various viewing devices. The company offers a number of third-party plug-ins—including WordPress, Brightcove, JW Player, Flowplayer, Bits on the Run and Drupal—to streamline the integration process. provides complete support services via telephone representatives, online chat or support tickets.

Muse Encoders

Envivio Muse encoders provide a live (Muse Live) or file-based (Muse On-Demand) workflow to simplify operations, reduce equipment requirements and control expansion costs. Envivio software products run on Intel-based platforms, including Envivio 4Caster encoding appliances and HP blade servers in IT-centric data center architectures, and support a broad range of compression formats. With the Muse On-Demand software-based multiscreen and broadcast transcoder, operators can process large VOD libraries quickly while minimizing space requirements. High-quality video is processed up to 12x real time in multiple formats. Combined with Envivio Muse On-Demand, 4Balancer enables simultaneous file processing across a pool of up to 50 encoders, maximizing system utilization.

Makito X2 Dual-Channel Encoder

The Makito X2 encoder from Haivision features dual-channel operation and a latency of just 55 milliseconds. It’s available with inputs for SD and HD-SDI video, as well as composite and 3G-SDI signals. The unit provides encoding over a wide range of data speeds, running as low as 32 Kb/s to as high as 25 Mb/s, delivering pristine video at bit rates lower than 2 Mb/s. Makito X2 includes four internal encoding engines, allowing it to provide encoding at up to four different bit rates. Each engine can be directed to multiple network destinations to uniquely serve mobile devices, desktops, set-top boxes, streaming servers and more.

Transcode Service

Intel’s Transcode Service supports more than 50 formats for video and audio transcoding via a web-accessible Uniform JSON API. Based on the company’s hardware-accelerated cloud media processing technology, the service is easy to use and completely scalable and extensible, allowing users to match their need with transcoding capacity. Intel’s Transcode Service software stack can also be deployed on a user’s servers to provide a customized cloud-based transcoding environment. The offering supports all major codec equipment and is easily integrated into a customer’s workflow.

Marshall Electronics
VS-103E-HDSDI Video Encoder

The VS-103E-HDSDI video encoder from Marshall Electronics supports 1920 x 1080 resolutions at 60 fps and provides dual streaming (H.264/H.264 and H.264/M-JPEG). It accepts SD/HD-SDI, HDMI and composite video sources and encodes two channels of audio embedded in HDMI or HD-SDI inputs. The unit features USB recording, power-over-Ethernet, RS-232/RS-422/RS-485 communication, motion detection and more. Its video bit rate is adjustable between 32 Kb/s and 1 Mb/s for primary and secondary video channels. It supports MPEG-2 TS and a number of protocols, including TCP/IP, multicast, UDP, HTTP, SMTP, SNMP, DNS and Dynamic DNS.

Media Excel
HERO 5000E Contribution Encoder

Media Excel’s HERO 5000E contribution encoder delivers two independent MPEG-2 or MPEG-4/AVC (H.264) streams and offers a latency of less than 100 milliseconds. It offers superior bandwidth efficiency and enhanced resilience to errors. The HERO encoder features a modular design and occupies only a single rack-unit. A web-based management and configuration system provides users full control of operating parameters, and the keypad and front panel LCD allow quick and easy access to preconfigured operating profiles. The HERO 5000E works with standard- and high-definition inputs and in both 4:2:0 and 4:2:2. It is field-upgradable to HEVC (H.265).

Real-Time Encoder Application

The Simian Real-Time Encoder application is designed for use by production and postproduction companies, advertising agencies and other businesses that manage and move large volumes of media files. It saves users time by facilitating encoding on a local computer instead of requiring operators to upload uncompressed video to a web-based service. User interface is streamlined via drag and drop operations. The Real-Time Encoder includes preset profiles to ensure optimal playout on all video-enabled platforms. The encoder provides broadcast-quality video and features a complete toolset for creating and distributing video content, managing projects, tracking sales numbers and marketing activities and more.

Sorenson Media
Squeeze 9 Video Encoder

Sorenson Media’s Squeeze 9 video encoder provides an enhanced user interface and multicore encoding at speeds up to six times faster than competitive products. It’s optimized for HTML 5, allowing users to create video files and HTML markup for multiscreen playback with a single preset. Squeeze 9 is available in different versions—Squeeze Standard, Squeeze Pro and Squeeze Premium—to suit individual applications. (Upgrades to Squeeze 9 from earlier versions are also available.) The encoder supports EIA-608 and CEA-708 closed captioning in video source material and in the corresponding TTML output. The encoder also allows pass-through of closed captioning information.

RadiantGrid Intelligent Media Transformation Platform

The Wohler RadiantGrid Intelligent Media Transformation Platform offers an efficient solution for transcoding, standards conversion and audio processing. It provides loudness correction, quality control and distribution of media. At the heart of the platform is RadiantGrid’s TrueGrid parallel processing engine, which excels at providing faster-than-real-time content transformation, particularly for long-form content requiring multiple processes to be run concurrently. Intelligent automation of workflow processes, coupled with close integration of plug-ins such as Cinnafilm’s Tachyon, Interra Systems’ Baton and Linear Acoustic’s AERO.file, provides the capability needed to manage everything from multiplatform transcoding and standards conversion to more complex processing such as mixed-cadence correction, video optimization and audio-loudness conformance.