h.264 hardware encoder

As I wrote earlier today, I received today the ADSTech Instant Video To-Go (aka RDX-160). In the beginning it didn’t work and so the bundled ArcSoft app encoded videos slower than QuickTime Pro. But after some fiddling and a reboot, the driver actually worked. Some preliminary results, before a full review goes live later this week on TuxTops.com:

852×480, 30fps, 30 second h.264 source to 320×240 h.264 output (320 kbps, 64kbps AAC, 24 fps)

MediaCoder with x264/ffmpeg, no HW: 55 seconds
QuickTime Pro, no HW: 1.03 seconds
ArcSoft, no HW: 1.38 minutes
ArcSoft with RDX-160 Hardware Acceleration: 14 seconds

So far it seems to be pretty fast! If only ArcSoft’s encoder was actually faster (it was the slowest of all when no acceleration was used) it would go down from 14 seconds to about 10 seconds using the RDX-160. In other words, the hardware seems to do the job, it’s their encoder that they use that needs further optimizations.

On the bright side, ArcSoft’s encoding app respects the aspect ratios of videos and creates letterbox when needed. They got that right!

UPDATE: Review is up!

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