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Multi-channel 4K HEVC Broadcast and Contribution Encoder



With 4K TV prices rapidly dropping to the HD-level, 4K adoption is expected to finally take off in 2016. 4K TV penetration rate will rise to 23.8% by the end of the year according to TrendForce which will increase the demand for 4K services and drive the broadcast and cable networks rollout plans. But producing and distributing 4K live content can be a major headache specially looking at existing H.264 based workflows.

Application Requirements

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the latest video compression standard and has demonstrated its ability to deliver the same subjective quality with a bit rate reduction of 50% or more over the widely used H.264/AVC codec. In applications such as cable TV where minimizing bandwidth is not the highest priority, HEVC can be used to significantly improve video quality at the same bitrate as AVC therefore enabling 4K UltraHD content transport over existing capacity networks.

Content and service providers can leverage HEVC benefits both when transporting video from an event to the studio (contribution) and when delivering the resulting broadcast to the viewer (distribution). However, these benefits are achieved at the expense of a significant increase in codec complexity over H.264. This is especially relevant in live productions where real time handling of enhanced color depths and advanced chroma is required and make hardware encoding a must have to efficiently address the challenges of 4K workflows. On the other hand, broadcast equipment manufacturers are eager to take advantage of IT cost efficiencies and in this crossroad is where the Advantech VEGA-3301 PCI Express encoder card and Advantech VEGA-7000 server come in.


The Advantech VEGA-3301 offers a simple, powerful and cost-effective way for OEMs and system integrator to easily add 4K UHD video capture and HEVC capabilities to their x86-based encoding applications. The VEGA-3301 is a real-time 4K UltraHD HEVC encoder PCI Express add-in card that can capture 4K video at 60 fps over built-in HDMI 2.0, Display Port or 4-ch SDI-3G video inputs. The video is encoded in real-time using HEVC with a 10 bit 4:2:2 profile at up to 500Mbit/s bit rate. Audio is also captured and fed directly to the host system for framing and processing. The encoded stream can be sent over lower capacity networks to central studios or further distribution stages.

The combination of 4K video inputs and real-time high performance encoding make it especially suitable for acquisition-based encoding in live productions whether it is a contribution encoder at a major event or a broadcast encoder in the central studios. Up to four VEGA-3301 PCI Express cards can be integrated into a VEGA-7000 server able to perform 4-channel 4K UHD HEVC encoding in 1 single rack unit.


Advantech VEGA-3301 real-time HEVC encoder card offers a compelling solution for Ultra HD applications providing:

  • High quality video encoding: supports professional grade 4Kp60 main 10 4:2:2 profile video with all-I frame option and low latency. 
  • Inbuilt 4K video capture over HDMI 2.0, Display Port 1.2 or 4-ch SDI-3G video inputs: saves space in host appliances and can avoid the need for the host to handle 4K raw video.
  • Less than 35W power consumption: simple to integrate into small, heat-sensitive or power-restricted systems.
  • High integration: standard PCIe form factor, compatible with standard x86 based server host.
  • Application ready platform: simple-to-use SDK and example code for FFmpeg multimedia frameworks.
  • Long term availability: long life-cycle support is an essential guarantee for the video market. Our warranty policy satisfies the long-term needs of this demanding industry.


Ultra HD is growing to a mass critical point and broadcasters are getting reading to adopt next-generation resolution workflows. That means HEVC but without compromising operational efficiency, floor space, power consumption and total cost of ownership (TCO). Advantech ultra-low-power VEGA-3301 encoder PCI Express card can provide video infrastructure equipment manufacturers with a powerful tool to build 4K HEVC server based platforms with better flexibility, scalability and reduced time to market.