Harmonic Enhances ProStream 1000 with Audio Transcoding, Level Control Features

Harmonic has enhanced its ProStream line of stream processing solutions by integrating audio transcoding and automated audio level control technology into its ProStream 1000 stream processor with ACE real-time transcoding. The new audio processing capabilities include transcoding and downmix support for all common audio codecs as well as Level Magic automated audio level and loudness controls, developed by German audio specialists Jünger Audio. These enhancements enable service providers to deploy HD and SD services without the need for a discrete solution for audio processing, saving rack space and capital expense.

Extending the architecture of the ProStream 1000 stream processor with ACE, the integrated Level Magic automated audio level control technology addresses critical audio handling issues that often plague service providers. Level Magic eliminates audio level variations within a channel during commercial breaks or when switching from one channel to another, creating a more pleasant viewing experience and helping the operator comply with the CALM Act, the U.S. congressional mandate to normalize the volume of commercials. Level Magic technology also eliminates the need to process audio channels at the baseband level, providing incremental cost savings and operational efficiencies for operators running IP-centric headends by consolidating all the necessary audio/video processing into a single chassis.

The newly added audio transcoding capability expands the utility of ProStream 1000 with ACE by enabling “any to any” codec transcoding. In addition to advantages such as downmixing to support legacy set-top boxes during transitions to HD, the integrated transcoding enables the cost-effective roll out of bandwidth-efficient codecs such as HE-AAC and Dolby Digital Plus, leaving more bandwidth for higher video bit rate and leading to better video quality.

“The ProStream 1000 is a widely deployed solution, supporting more than 12,000 channels worldwide,” says JC Morizur, VP, product marketing at Harmonic. “With these integrated audio controls, ProStream 1000 with ACE provides an even greater level of efficiency that speeds workflows, reduces audio processing steps, and eliminates the need for additional equipment — lowering capital and operational expenses.”

The enhanced audio features include transcoding and downmix support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, AAC, HE-AAC, and MPEG-1 Layer II formats. In addition to the integrated audio controls, the ProStream 1000 stream processor with ACE offers a sophisticated, enhanced feature set that includes:
• Multi-codec capability for SD/HD MPEG-2 to AVC and AVC to MPEG-2 transcoding
• SD/HD MPEG-2 to MPEG-2 and AVC to AVC re-encoding
• High-quality transcoding/re-encoding
• HD to SD downconversion
• Microsoft® picture-in-picture (PIP)
• Up to 20 HD or 60 SD transcoded channels per chassis
• Multiple output streams per input service to support simulcast, triplecast, switched digital video (SDV) and video-on-demand
• Up to 16 integrated statmux pools with Harmonic DiviTrackMX™ statistical multiplexing technology

The ProStream 1000 with ACE is a flexible solution for a variety of stream processing needs, including advanced ASI/IP scrambling/descrambling, re-encoding, transcoding, statistical multiplexing, forward error correction (FEC), and variable-to-constant bit rate conversion. ACE transcoding technology enables the ProStream 1000 to offer density supporting MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) transcoding of up to 20 HD or 60 SD video and audio channels in a compact and power-efficient one rack-unit (1 RU) chassis.

Harmonic will demonstrate ProStream 1000 with ACE at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2011, Nov. 15-17 in Atlanta in booth 968.

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