Snell’s Helios snaps up F&S Award

A Snell & Wilcox image processing platform designed to improve the appearance of video material delivered via limited bandwidth content delivery platforms, such as mobile TV and broadband TV, has been named the 2007 Global Digital Media Infrastructure Product of the Year by global growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan.

The Frost & Sullivan Product of the Year Awards recognize companies and individuals that are predicted to encourage significant growth in their industries, have identified emerging trends before they became the standard in the marketplace, and have created advanced technologies that will catalyze the growth of the information and communication markets in the near future.

The Snell & Wilcox mobile TV solution was presented this prestigious award in recognition of its unique ability to save on bandwidth while significantly improving the image quality of mobile TV services with its repurposing product solutions. Its benefits can also be extended to deliver video to broadband TV and IPTV viewers.

The company’s Helios Mobile platform was designed to eliminate the boundaries among video formats, diverse networks, and new media display devices. It ensures that video content will perform optimally on any platform, including mobile phones, iPods, and Internet downloads. Frost & Sullivan identified Helios Mobile in particular for its unique ability to deliver mobile TV content with optimum quality at very low bit rates, thus making the most efficient use of bandwidth without compromising the quality of the viewing experience for the end user.

“It has been difficult to recreate a television-like visual experience on the mobile screens for certain content, such as sports events or videos with fast-moving action,” noted Frost & Sullivan analyst Vidya S. Nath. “Viewers might find it difficult to view details on a small display, even while the content is being delivered using the maximum available bandwidth. Helios Mobile can be used in a single workflow environment to tailor the content and bandwidth usage for efficient delivery of live streaming content as well as video-on-demand.”

“As a single-platform software solution that has a high level of interoperability with other software, server, and encoder products, Helios Mobile eliminates the need for expensive equipment and exhibits the scalability and flexibility that the market needs,” added Nath.

Simplifying the multistep process of repurposing content for viewing on mobile platforms while delivering optimal image quality is the whole idea behind Helios Mobile. The system combines the industry’s most advanced video compression with a series of unique image processing techniques to deliver visibly superior results.

For example, Helios Mobile can selectively and automatically adapt conventional video images for delivery to mobile devices. The system can dynamically separate the foreground and the background within the video image, and treat each separately in order to concentrate the energy of the compression encoder on the parts of the image that are most important to the viewer.

Bringing the most important object, character, or athlete into crisp detail while lessening the detail and prominence of objects or scenery in the background, Helios Mobile delivers a compelling viewing experience on tiny displays. Helios Mobile is also designed to dynamically reframe video images and produce tighter, sharper shots that retain the emotional impact of the original when displayed on the small screen.

In addition to creating a high-quality viewing experience for the consumer, Helios Mobile also delivers significant benefits to mobile operators. By creating “better pics for fewer bits” the system saves valuable bandwidth and therefore reduces costs for the mobile operator. Helios Mobile’s automated operation also saves operators money by enabling them to work more efficiently as they capture and repurpose video content.

“Helios Mobile helps content owners and producers meet the challenge, and necessity, of monetizing content quickly and at a very high standard,” said Joe Zaller, vice president of strategic marketing at Snell & Wilcox. “With Helios, broadcasters and content owners can drive significant new revenue streams while meeting the demands of a consumer audience that seeks content without compromise.”