Xilinx aims to cut streaming bandwidth costs with new transcoding tech

Xilinx Real-Time Server (Xilinx)

Xilinx is putting out two new video transcoding appliances that it says will help reduce bandwidth costs associated with streaming live video.

The appliances – both of which are based on Xilinx Real-Time (RT) Server reference architecture – are focused on either optimizing bitrates to save bandwidth or on channel density and optimizing cost per channel. Both are available in two pre-configured options integrating Xilinx Alveo data center accelerator cards.

Xilinx is also releasing the new Alveo U30 for high-density video processing in a PCIe accelerator card. It’s using the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, an all-programmable system-on-chip (SoC) with integrated video codec and graphics engines for UHD video.

The new low bitrate-optimized video appliance contains eight Alveo U50 accelerator cards. It is capable of streaming up to eight full-HD 1080p60 channels along with eight full adaptive bitrate (ABR) ladders, all at x265 medium preset.

The solutions are geared toward esports and game streaming platforms, social and video conferencing, live distance learning, telemedicine and broadcast video. Many of these streaming trends have accelerated during the pandemic.

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Aaron Behman, director of video product marketing at Xilinx, said that by reducing bitrates while maintaining video quality, his company is hoping to save customers up to 30% of their bandwidth costs, which could amount to nearly $22 million per year.

He said that one of the new appliances can house 128 1080p/30fps channels in a single server rack, which Xilinx estimates is the densest set up available today.

These new appliances are built on the FFmpeg framework to allow for replacement of existing software and GPGPU-based transcoder infrastructure by providing system developers with a common API. Xilinx said its software partners are working to build applications to run above the standard FFmpeg layer.

Xilinx said that HPE has qualified the Alveo U50 and Alveo U250 accelerator cards on HPE ProLiant Servers. The ProLiant Gen10 DL380 and Gen10-Plus DL385 will be the first FPGA-powered HPE servers. HPE will be the first tier one server OEM to offer the bit optimized Alveo U50-based video transcoding appliance. The company is also working with Wistron in the APAC region to offer a Transformer G2E with up to eight Alveo U30 cards, which is available now. The company is also working with Hypertec and Boston to offer more solutions this summer for worldwide and EMEA markets.

Xilinx has also integrated the Wowza Streaming Engine media server software into the Xilinx RT Server reference architecture to let users manage live streaming video.

“Wowza is working closely with Xilinx and its VARs to integrate the Wowza Streaming Engine media server into RT Server-based appliances. This integration will in the future offer a complete solution for cost-effective and easy management of live video streaming,” said Anthony Lazaro, senior director of product at Wowza, in a statement.