Analog video in, Web 2.0 out

New Optibase appliances convert analog video feeds into Flash, H.264 streams

At the Government Video Technology Expo 2008, being held this week in Washington, Optibase revealed two new appliances that convert analog video feeds into digital streams.


The new Optibase MGW Flash Streamer appliance converts analog video feeds into Flash video, where it can be easily embedded on a Web page. It can deliver to 500 output streams, in either multicast, or unicast mode, using either Unicast, HTTP or RTMP.


The unit accepts as input composite video input, as well as NTSC/PAL feed. Output can be streamed from two Gigabit Ethernet or USB ports, at a bit rate ranging from 30 Kilobits per second to 2 Megabits per second, offering a frame rate of 1 frame to 30 frames per second. Audio, input is handled by a stereo RCA set of jacks, and output is in the MP3 format with a bit rate from 64 to 192 kilobits per second. The unit can run a sampling rate of 22 Kilohertz to 48 Kilohertz.


For management purposes, the unit comes with a built-in Web server, for management and as a staging platform for streams. The video can also be embedded on outside Web pages, noted Bob Stephens, Optibase's director of federal sales.


Stephens said this appliance could offer a low-cost way of streaming video to end-users. "A government public affairs department may have some video they want to push out, but they may not want to have the whole infrastructure of a content delivery network," he said. It also simplifies the software needs on the users side as well. "Almost everyone has a Flash player as part of their browser already," he noted.


On the show floor, the company also displayed its new MGW Micro, a small rugged appliance that converts analog video streams into MPEG-4 H.264 streams. It can provide a bit rate of 64 Kbps to 4 Mbps, or about 5 to 30 frames per second.


"It is very effective at very low bit-rates," Stephens said, explaining the benefit of using H.264. "I can get the bit-rate down to 200 kilobits, and still get a very useful stream."


Such low bit-rates could be appealing for military satellite networks, unmanned aerial vehicles and other instances where bandwidth is at a premium.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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