Synamedia boosts compression R&D investment

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Video software provider Synamedia is boosting R&D investment in its compression technologies alongside a trio of senior appointments. With the adoption of 4K-ready devices and new broadcasting standards such as ATSC 3.0 supporting 4K and ultimately 8K streams over-the-air, Synamedia says its investment in compression will meet the growing need for advanced encoding technologies to deliver stunning low latency live experiences while optimising bandwidth.

Synamedia will focus on driving innovation in content-adaptive encoding including the use of neural networks. First previewed at IBC 2019, content-adaptive encoding uses automation and machine learning techniques and builds on Synamedia Digital Content Manager (DCM) with the Smart Rate Control for live ABR. Other initiatives will include new core video and audio algorithms, filtering noisy source content, and encoding optimisation. With the goal of fully autonomous deployments in Synamedia’s sights, the analytics team will play a vital role in accelerating video network development by advancing the automation of video quality assessment and performance benchmarking.

Synamedia’s compression team is now led by one of the industry’s foremost encoding experts, Jan De Cock, who has joined as Director of Codec Development. De Cock’s entire career has been in the compression space, most recently at Netflix where he was Manager of Video and Image Encoding for four years. Prior to this, De Cock was Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronics and Information Systems at Ghent University in Belgium. He holds a PhD in Engineering, has authored dozens of academic papers on video compression, and holds patents in signal, image and video processing.

Also joining the video network business as Vice President of Services is John Hargrave, who was most recently CTO and COO at Zone·tv. With a specialism in software-as-a service, Hargrave spent four years at Ericsson as Vice President of Mediaroom Field Engineering then Vice President of Global Media Services. Hargrave also worked at Microsoft as General Manager for Mediaroom and at Telus as National Director of Professional Services.

Rounding out the new hires, David Baranski joins as Vice President of Sales for Video Network, the Americas. Before his 18 months at MediaKind as VP of Sales for US Cable Operators, Baranski spent six years with encoding specialist Envivio and then Ericsson, following its acquisition of Envivio in 2016. As VP of Sales for US cable operators at Ericsson, David headed up software compression and media delivery sales for the Americas.

As well as supporting established codecs including MPEG-2, AVC and HEVC, Synamedia’s compression team is adding newer codecs such as AV1 and MPEG’s Versatile Video Coding codec (VVC). Last month Synamedia joined the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) to advance open standards for media compression and delivery over the web using AV1, furthering Synamedia’s goal of enhancing OTT video streaming experiences at scale.

“These new hires are part of an initiative to accelerate customers’ journey to virtualised, software-based encoding for broadcast and OTT using DCM,” explained Julien Signes, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Video Network at Synamedia. “Boosting our world-class team with such an experienced trio of video and compression experts will help us supercharge our ambitions and deliver top-notch solutions to customers faster.”


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