CES: Elemental Zips Video With Intel Chip

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Elemental Technologies, a startup using PC-based chips for massively parallel video processing, is migrating its system to support the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family -- and claims to have achieved extremely fast transcoding performance.

Elemental's products use off-the-shelf, programmable graphics processing units (GPUs) for compute-intensive video processing and conversion tasks.

In a technology demo at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Elemental plans to show its Badaboom Media Converter taking advantage of a feature in the Intel's next-generation PC processors called Quick Sync Video, which provides built-in hardware acceleration for video compression.

According to Elemental, with the Intel Core processors, performance tests show a 720p (1280x720) MPEG-2 video asset of 110 minutes in length being transcoded to a mobile device MPEG-4 H.264 output (i.e., 480x270 or 640x360) at a bit rate of 1.5 Mbps -- in less than 10 minutes.

"With its new video-optimized integrated graphics architecture, Intel provides a platform that allows us to push the boundaries of our software," Elemental CEO and co-founder Sam Blackman said in a statement.

Among other key enhancements in the second generation of the Core PC processors, code-named Sandy Bridge, are the Intel Insider content-security features. Those give content owners and video services the ability to release more movies in HD via Internet digital downloads the same day they become available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, according to Intel.

Intel is working with studios and online distributors -- including Best Buy's CinemaNow, Sonic Solutions and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution -- to let PCs with the chips securely play back HD content. At CES, Intel plans to demo a clip from Warner Bros.' Inception in 1080p (also known as "full HD") and show how a user could download the movie from Best Buy's CinemaNow service. Commercial distribution of HD premium content using the Intel Insider technology is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2011, according to Intel.

Elemental's investors include Walt Disney Co.'s Steamboat Ventures, General Catalyst and Voyager Capital. The Portland, Ore.-based startup was founded in 2006.

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