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Xilinx Alveo Makes Video Zoom

July 7, 2020

Author: Mike Demler

Xilinx has developed two new real-time-server reference architectures based on its Alveo U30 and U50 accelerator cards. The Alveo U30 and U50 implement adaptive-bit-rate (ABR) transcoding technology the company acquired by purchasing NGCodec in 2019. The transcoders take live HEVC- or H.264-encoded video and apply decoding, scaling, and re-encoding in a so-called ABR ladder to produce output video at lower resolutions and a choice of frame rates.

The U30 targets video platforms that have numerous channels but potentially few viewers per channel, such as citywide video-surveillance systems. Therefore, cost per channel is paramount. Cost savings in these systems comes from increasing channel density, which reduces capital expenditures. The U30 simultaneously transcodes 16 HD streams at 30fps, eight HD streams at 60fps, or two 4K streams at 60fps, consuming less than 40W. Users can subdivide the resolution to support as many as 48 channels.

The U50 aims to reduce the bit rate without sacrificing video quality, saving transmission cost for content providers that serve a few streams to many simultaneous viewers—for example, during a popular e-sports competition. These providers can cut operating expenses by applying transcoding to reduce bandwidth. The reference design is a 75W PCIe card that’s half height and half length, comprising an UltraScale+ FPGA, two 4GB HBM DRAMs, and a 100GbE interface.

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