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Who says you can't .avi it all? - new service to streamline video conversion

Joint project of PacketVideo and Åbo Akademi University aims to create a cloud-based live transcoding service that sorts out the ever-expanding video format jungle

Watching video clips is common in many daily situations. Smartphones can stream Youtube clips during coffee breaks at the office, and tabloid articles often seek to provide additional depth to their scoops with embedded videos. However, when home users record video clips on their cameras or phones, playing those clips on home entertainment devices often turns out to be difficult due to different video formats used by the devices. When the original format isn't supported, the video data usually needs to be converted to a compatible format in a process called transcoding.

Video transcoding is a demanding operation from a computing perspective, and once started, it requires continuous processing power. As customer preferences are moving towards mobile devices and tablets with limited processing capabilities, handling transcoding at a cloud computing platform offers a convenient way to increase processing power without sacrificing mobility and convenience of use.

PacketVideo Finland and Åbo Akademi University have launched a collaborative project to design a cloud service for this purpose. The aim is to create a DLNA-compatible service that handles the whole conversion cycle: sending video data to the service, transcoding it, and delivering it back to the user. What's more, they plan to do the whole thing live, without disturbing the user's viewing experience.

Real-time processing adds an additional challenge, but significant gains in the transcoding phase are possible with parallel processing. After receiving the data, the service splits it into separate parts, assigns each of them to be processed individually, and then merges the resulting video material back together.

“This transcoding service is about avoiding frustrated end users waiting forever in front of a black TV screen to watch an incompatible video”, describes Sébastien Lafond from Åbo Akademi, “It's all about improving the end users' experience.”

Currently, the service is still being prototyped internally at PacketVideo Finland. The schedule for public launch is not yet set.

Cloud Software is a four-year program run by TIVIT (2010–2013), which focuses on developing
different areas of cloud services. F-Secure is the flagship company for the Cloud Software program and the program is funded by TEKES.

Further information:

Jarno Kallio
Senior Software Architect – PacketVideo Finland

PacketVideo: http://www.packetvideo.com

All publications and results obtained by Åbo Akademi University in the Cloud Software Finland project are available from: