Elemental Shakes Up Video Servers With Parallel Processing

Elemental Technologies — aka the smart young startup in Portland that makes video processing better by doing it in parallel — is beta-releasing a video encoding and transcoding server.

Elemental Founders and Server 2 0509

In the last year, Elemental has put GPUs (graphics processing units) to work on the non-graphics jobs CPUs (central processing units) normally do, using its breakthrough software to do an awful lot of computing with the GPU processing cores in parallel. After raising $7.1 million in Series A funding last July, the company released the Badaboom video file converter, for consumers, and a professional video processing product called the RapiHD. Badaboom, which costs $30, has already been downloaded 1 million times.

Now, Elemental is taking on a whole new category, by releasing its Elemental Server, which it says can do the job of seven dual quad-core CPU servers while taking up less space, using less power and costing less than half the price. Using the GPU for transcoding can be 5-10 times faster than using the CPU. The server will enable real-time transcoding on-demand, and Elemental already has customers like Brightcove and partners like Adobe (s adbe) on board.

Because Elemental takes advantage of Nvidia’s (s nvda) CUDA processing language, its server will only run on Nvidia chips for the time being. The company will also make the software available for customers to run on their own Nvidia-based hardware.

Elemental CEO Sam Blackman isn’t content with just providing transformative technology; he’d also like to revolutionize video monetization. (Hey Sam, while you’re at it, can we put in a request for a pony?)

Blackman told us last week he thinks the Elemental server will enable new business models because video providers will be able to customize content and targeted ads to end users on the fly. Eventually he’d like the servers to power cable, broadcast and satellite video processing. For now, video providers are constantly dealing with increasing demand as well as upgrading to high-definition and live-streaming, so buying new servers is a matter of course.

Blackman said he isn’t worried about competition from cloud computing alternatives — we’ve written about ones such as HD Cloud and Encoding.com — because content providers require a sturdier solution. However he made it clear Elemental plans to incorporate the cloud as part of in its own products later on.

Blackman said Elemental, which has 20 employees, was nearly cash-flow positive in 2008 even though it only had products on the market in the fourth quarter of the year. He said he doesn’t anticipate raising more funding.

Pictured: Elemental founders and their server: Brian Lewis (Chief Architect), Sam Blackman (Chairman and CEO) and Jesse Rosenzweig (CTO).