Harmonic Launches Electra X Encoder Family

Harmonic launched the latest generation of its Electra product line, the Electra X family of advanced media processors for broadcast and multiscreen content delivery. According to the company, Electra X is the world’s first encoder family to support graphics, branding, and playout functionalities, as well as industry-leading video quality and full-frame Ultra HD (UHD) live encoding.

Powered by the Harmonic PURE Compression Engine, Electra X appliance-based media processors boost video compression efficiency across an extensive range of formats and codecs — including MPEG-2, AVC, and HEVC codecs — over CBR, VBR, and ABR encoding schemes to support a broad array of devices from handhelds to UHD TV. Already deployed by Harmonic customers, the multicodec and multiformat nature of Electra X makes it well suited to solve the video processing challenges of broadcast, cable, satellite, and telco operators today and in the future.

“Building on the success of our industry-leading compression family, the Electra X media processors offer a dramatic new approach to encoding,” said Bart Spriester, senior vice president, video products, Harmonic. “The Electra X simplifies content delivery operations, enabling video content and service providers to offer linear and multiscreen services from low bandwidth profiles all the way up to UHD. Plus the additional function integration can have a profound impact when deploying new services.”

Integrating real-time SD and HD encoding, high-quality graphics, branding, and playout functionality, the Electra X2 media processor unifies market-leading video quality, unparalleled function integration, and increased operational flexibility in a single 1-RU appliance. Utilizing this next-generation media processing system, video content and service providers can dramatically simplify their infrastructures, reduce costs, and drive new revenue-generating services, while delivering superior video quality at the lowest possible bit rate.

“By converging broadcast and multiscreen encoding with the graphics and branding from Harmonic’s Spectrum ChannelPort integrated channel playout system, plus transport stream playout functionality, into a single, compact appliance, Electra X2 reduces the number of devices required to build a broadcast transmission chain. This approach lowers capital and operating expenditures, resulting in exceptionally low total cost of ownership (TCO),” continued Spriester.

With the Electra X2 media processor, multiple encoding and playout operations can be controlled from a single interface, making operations easier to set up, manage, and maintain, thereby dramatically lowering TCO. Through its pay-as-you-grow approach to scalability, the next-generation media processor assures that users pay only for media processing capabilities they need, enabling them to add new capabilities in the future as business requirements change. The Electra X2 media processor is managed via Harmonic’s NMX Digital Service Manager, a video network management solution that encompasses a powerful set of tools for monitoring and managing compressed digital media services. When paired with other NMX-controlled systems, such as Harmonic’s ProStream 9100 high-density stream processor and ProMedia X Origin multiscreen media server, the Electra X2 media processor becomes part of a highly scalable, converged solution for the deployment of linear broadcast and OTT video services.

For operators and service providers that want to deliver UHD video quality at the lowest bit rates, Harmonic also announced the Electra X3 advanced media processor. This media processor exploits the power of the Harmonic PURE compression engine to also deliver real-time, broadcast-ready content, supporting UHD formats up to 2160p60 (HEVC Main 10 profile). Unlike other UHD compression solutions on the market, which contain multiple logical encoders, the Electra X3 is the industry’s first production-ready, full-frame UHD encoder in a single 2-RU appliance. Consequently, the Electra X3 integrates easily into existing workflows and boasts lower power consumption for additional TCO benefits.

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