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2008 Streaming Media Editors' Picks

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Rhozet Carbon Coder
Rhozet Carbon Coder went quickly from an upstart engineered by former members of the Grass Valley ProCoder group to being one of the leading industrial-strength encoding solutions (not to mention getting acquired by video big shot Harmonic, Inc.). Version 3, introduced at IBC in September 2007, added distributed transcoding on multiple CPUs, support for Flash Video And VC-1, and a new quality assurance feature. All of which improved on an already top-notch product. "If your facility has outgrown the functionality that even three or four installations of Sorenson Squeeze can provide, or needs features or format support not provided in Squeeze," wrote Jan Ozer in his review of version 2, "Carbon Coder should definitely be on your shortlist."

ViewCast Niagara GoStream Plus
ViewCast introduced the original Niagara GoStream in 2006, but it was such a hot ticket that Steve Mack wasn’t able to get his hands on it for review until our April/May 2007 issue. He called it both idiotproof and bulletproof, and praised both its rugged portability and the results he got encoding to Windows Media, Real, and Flash Video. By that time, though, ViewCast had introduced the GoStream Plus, which made a good thing even better by adding the ability to encode to multiple formats and resolutions simultaneously as well as Wi-Fi compatibility.

Wowza Media Server Pro
We’d normally be hesitant to bestow the Editors’ Picks honor on the same product 2 years in a row, but Wowza Media Server Pro flat-out exploded in 2007, going from beta to launch to almost 4,000 licensees in the span of 12 months. Pricing is still its biggest draw over both configurations of Adobe Flash Media Server, but more and more Wowza users are saying that while the price got them to take a look, the performance is what got them to sign up. Adobe still dominates the market, but we’d bet that even the folks there would admit that a little competition is a good thing.

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