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Sorenson Media Squeeze Server 1.5: Breakthrough Enterprise Encoding

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Sorenson Media--based in San Diego, CA and founded 16 years ago--just released Sorenson Squeeze Server 1.5, which the company calls "the first enterprise transcoding solution in the market to optimize performance for all three leading adaptive bitrate streaming platforms." Those platforms are Adobe Dynamic Streaming, Apple HTTP Adaptive Streaming and Microsoft Smooth Streaming.

With its Windows-based transcode workflow, Sorenson Squeeze Server 1.5 automates the process of transcoding video files for optimized playback with any container or format, from MXF to Flash, h.264 and WebM and on any device, from smartphones and tablets to set-top boxes and connected TVs.

Sorenson Media COO Eric Quanstrom
Sorenson Media COO Eric Quanstrom
"Video has taken center stage everywhere and anywhere you can imagine," says Sorenson Media COO Eric Quanstrom. "Whether you're talking about OTT (over the top) plays down to tablets, a marketplace that is completely reinvigorating the mobile base, ubiquity is the rule of the day. We're very familiar with the morass of folders, containers, formats and try to simplify this as much as possible."

Although this is only a half-point release, Quanstrom says the company "dug in the weeds to make a lot of changes to the base, root functionality." That included special attention to Watch Folders. "With multiple edit bays connected to a network folder, as editors finish the job or get to a different stage, they can drop the files into a Watch Folder," he explains. "Previous to 1.5, we only passed the root folder. Now if that folder is buried deep on a C drive, the server intelligently looks for Watch Folders."

Other new features include easy path naming, in-and-out point granularity, thumbnail flexibility (including time settings and separate thumbs), additional queue statistics that can be used for automatic scaling, and linked audio tracks. Squeeze Server APIs allow developers to enhance throughput with automated workflows while controlling the quality of the video, as well as automatically publish encoded videos to a variety of destinations. Also streamlining the workflow, Sorenson server's Preset Exchange gives users access to presets created by video compression experts, saving.

"The main optimization with additional input/output flexibility was around Microsoft's cloud, which has a notion of storage called Azure Blogs," Quanstrom explains. The server now easily integrates with any Windows-based cloud environment and makes it easy to develop workflows that include cloud-based storage or processing of files by offering handling of large video files into and out of Microsoft Azure Blobs and Amazon Web Services S3 buckets.

"We launched our encoding product in the cloud initially, and we have a number of cloud-based offerings that take advantage of Squeeze Server," says Quantstrom. "This gives the customer the assurance that he can future-proof his business. All those nodes will talk to one another, so IT folks have a lot of flexibility as they plan and provision through-put."

Quanstrom points to some of the other advantages of the Sorenson Squeeze server, which offers the added attraction of an attached database. "That way, we are not charging you twice," says Quanstrom. "Others will sell you a transcoder, the node itself and the second you want to go beyond one, the database is a separate charge. We've bundled that database alongside Squeeze Server."

A post facility or studio with 10 or 15 edit bays can now offload compression jobs onto the server, to enable editors to keep editing. "Bottom line, we're enabling very advanced workflows that are fairly silent, unobtrusive and don't cause any extra steps or anyone else involved in the workflow," he adds.

Emphasizing Sorenson Media's serious focus on cloud computing, Quanstrom notes that the company was the only video solutions company appointed to President Obama's Cloud Commission, a working group that made a number of recommendations on how people should perceive and use the cloud.

Attending IBC is a natural for Sorenson Media, he adds. "At least 50 percent of our booth traffic is going to be people who already have Sorenson Squeeze," Quanstrom says. "The way we sell Squeeze, it's a one-time fee with an annual upgrade, so they've already been upgraded. We really see IBC as looking directly at the new customer, obtaining new customers or expanding our footprint with current customers."

For those unable to attend IBC, Sorenson Media may have version 2.0 ready in time for those attending NAB 2012.





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