Steaming video doesn’t have to suck

dscn1786.JPGAt NAB, the Digital Rapids booth is a destination–big and busy, broadcasters lined up at 9a for help with the inscrutable mysteries of encoding, compression, and streaming. This is Digital Rapids’ first year at Infocomm and at their inconspicuous booth (2772) they offer help with the same inscrutable problems. It’s called the TouchStream.

Broadcasters expect pristine quality from a video signal (you can imagine how they feel about streaming). The quote is “never has so much technology been required to make video look so bad.” Here in the world of systems integrators it’s often a win just to get streaming to happen at reasonable quality and within budget. That’s not to say that systems integrators haven’t delivered amazing video pictures–they have. But alot of good-enough also travels over the PEG, worship, and corporate video highways.

With that in mind, Digital Rapids arrives here with a Pro AV market-specific product. TouchStream is a modest, (start’s at $4K-10K-ish) touch screen portable appliance that does a very specific task–think of it as a streaming optimizer. It can stand alone in simple applications (live or sourced from pretty much anything) where a Tricaster or Anycast might be overkill, or it can insert on the network behind those types of production products to help smooth the signal to it’s destination (or destinations…it does simultaneous multi-format delivery over any network to anything including mobile).

The TouchStream’s simple controls allow you do basic overlays and still graphics, and control video and audio settings. Most importantly you can set the delivery parameter(s) of your content to simultaneously accomodate most flavors (depending on model). There are multiple analog, SDI and HDi models with varying format capabilities.

Under the hood it is based on the same technology that (grudgingly) makes broadcasters happy with streaming video. (Last year my colleagues at Broadcast Engineering gave the TouchStream an IBC Pick Hit Award and it received equivalent awards from TV Tech and TVB Europe). It comes from a company that specializes in video streaming delivery. So if your concern is wringing the best quality out of your streaming application, and/or to specify one of the simplest possible ways to get quality streaming, this should be on your short list of things to see at the show, even if just to get the education that comes from dealing with the people at Digital Rapids.

TouchStream can come without storage or with–via removeable Flash card or hard drive.

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The editors of Sound & Video Contractor post live from InfoComm as the news happens. Check back several times a day for the latest industry news, reports from press conferences, and product introductions.

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