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MLBAM Using Elemental Encoders For On-Demand Content

MLB Advanced Media, Major League Baseball's media and Internet arm, has deployed video encoders from Elemental Technologies to generate on-demand content for Internet and mobile subscribers, MLBAM senior vice president of multimedia and distribution Joe Inzerillo said Wednesday at the 2nd Screen Summit NYC.

Inzerillo, referring to co-panelist Elemental CEO Sam Blackman, said, "We use a lot of your product in the on-demand space, we use a lot of Cisco for live... and you guys do a really good job of it." The 2nd Screen Summit NYC was presented by Multichannel News, B&C, TWICE and the Media Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA).

For live video streaming on its MLB.TV service, MLBAM uses encoders from Inlet Technologies, which Cisco Systems acquired last year for $95 million.

On the subject of delivering video to second-screen devices, Blackman said a big challenge is the fragmentation among formats and operating systems.

"Given the challenges we've talked about around the monetization side, we think it's really important to simplify the process... so [customers] don't have to worry about, how am I going to reach an Apple device, how am I going to reach an Adobe Flash player," he said.

Blackman also called out an emerging use of second-screen apps at live sporting events. Stanford University, for example, provides fans at various venues the ability to watch replays of close calls on iPads and iPhones from their seats. "In a few years, people will go to a stadium and expect this kind of feature," Blackman said in an interview.

Other Elemental customers include Comcast, ESPN, HBO and Avail-TVN, which are using its encoders to deliver Internet video content. Portland, Ore.-based Elemental, founded in 2006, closed a $13 million round of funding last month.

Unlike video-encoding systems that use purpose-built hardware, Elemental's Linux-based products use off-the-shelf, programmable graphics processing units (GPUs) for compute-intensive video processing and conversion tasks.