Elemental Technologies Looks to Hit Home Run with Streaming Video for TV and Web Content

4/6/10Follow @gthuang

If you watched last night’s NCAA men’s basketball championship game on the Web, or followed any of Major League Baseball’s opening day action via video on your mobile phone, then you have an idea of the market that Elemental Technologies is trying to tap.

Elemental, a Portland, OR-based video processing startup, is announcing today its most ambitious product to date: a real-time video encoding system that will let broadcasters, media companies, and cable networks stream live video to any type of device across any network. It could be a significant step toward the company’s ultimate goal of letting consumers watch video on any device. That means watching live events as the action is happening with a smooth and seamless experience, instead of getting a jittery picture or waiting for the video to load.

The new product is based on Elemental’s core approach of using off-the-shelf graphics processing units (GPUs) and smart software to do video processing much more efficiently and cheaply than conventional systems that use central processing units or specialized hardware. The difference between this and its two previous video products—a post-production system and an on-demand server—is that “Elemental Live” works in real-time as the video is being sent from a camera to the viewer’s device. The company has filed five patent applications on its technology.

“We spent a ton of time building an interface that’s really easy for anyone to use,” says Sam Blackman, the CEO and co-founder of Elemental. “The product line is fleshed out now.”

Of course, the Major League Baseballs, Turner Broadcasting Systems, and NBCs of the world already have streaming video systems in place. But they don’t always work that well, and they tend to be costly. So the question is whether Elemental can deliver much better live-video performance, such that it immediately drives up traffic and advertising revenues for these big networks. One promising sign: CBS Sports has reported that its ad revenues from streaming video are increasing without … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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