Badaboom 1.0 uses Nvidia GPUs to transcode video

Nvidia has made lots of noise about its CUDA general-purpose programming interface in recent months. While the company still boasts about CUDA’s benefits for scientific calculations and the like, consumer applications have been hard to come by. A firm called Elemental Technologies is attempting to change that with Badaboom Media Converter, an easy-to-use app that harnesses the GPU to convert videos for use on portable devices.

We had our first brush with Badaboom this summer, but there wasn’t much to write about: the software didn’t support most video formats and tended to crash often. Elemental has now released version 1.0 of Badaboom to the public, so we got on the phone with Elemental CEO Sam Blackman to learn about what’s changed.

Badaboom in action. Source: The Tech Report.

For one, Blackman said Elemental has altered its focus somewhat with this release. While the firm initially wanted to offer both a consumer version and a “Pro” release with more features, it ran out of time and decided to scrap the latter. Right now, that means there’s going to be just one full version of Badaboom out for the foreseeable future. This release costs $29.99, and it can process input files in MPEG2, AVCHD, H.264, HDV, and RAW video formats at resolutions of up to 1920×1080. The app can then output H.264 .mp4 files with resolutions of 1280×720 or less. On the audio front, Badaboom can take MP2, PCM, and Dolby Digital audio and transcode it to AAC.

According to Blackman, Elemental wants to market the app to somewhat knowledgeable users who need to convert video from digital camcorders, TV recordings, or DVDs to play on mobile devices and consoles. Badaboom already has output profiles for the iPhone, iPod, Sony PSP, Apple TV, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and Blackman suggested that tech-savvy community members could add their own profiles. In fact, you can already download custom presets for the Microsoft Zune and YouTube video.

Of course, what makes Badaboom special is how quickly it can transcode video with the GPU. The software had no trouble converting a 720p video clip at over 80 frames per second on our GeForce 8800 GT-powered system, and Elemental’s own benchmarks show Badaboom outperforming software encoders handily. The firm claims Badaboom delivers better output quality than some of the speedier software transcoders, too.

One of the benchmarks in the Badaboom reviewer’s guide. Source: Elemental.

Badaboom does have limitations, though. It can’t natively transcode copy-protected DVDs (essentially all legit DVD movies and shows), we couldn’t get it to transcode a QuickTime movie trailer from Apple’s website (the software complained about not supporting the AAC audio in the file), and it lacks support for DivX and XviD video. We asked Blackman about these issues, and he told us Elemental will release a new version of Badaboom in late November or early December with support for DivX, the latest Windows Media Video codec with VC-1, and AAC audio. “Another major consumer codec” will make its way into the software next year, as well.

On the topic of DVDs, Blackman made it clear that Elemental doesn’t advocate or support ripping copy-protected discs. However, were you to use a third-party tool to decrypt the DVD, Badaboom should have no trouble transcoding it. That means you could just use one of the few apps out there to disable a DVD’s copy protection then get Badaboom to convert itβ€”assuming that’s is legal in your country of residence, of course. You wouldn’t want the MPAA busting your door down.

Owners of graphics cards with red circuit boards will also find another downside: Badaboom requires a GeForce 8 or faster Nvidia graphics card right now. Blackman said Elemental was evaluating alternatives to CUDA like AMD’s Brook+, but while broader support could come eventually, the firm is sticking with CUDA for the time being.

You can download a trial version of Badaboom Media Converter 1.0 here from the Badaboom website. The page includes links to Elemental’s online store where you can trade $29.99 for the full release, as well. Blackman told us customers can expect to get updates with support for new formats and devices for free, but Elemental may charge the early adopters (albeit at a discount) for “major updates” with features like multi-GPU support.

Comments closed
    • spuppy
    • 11 years ago

    Core i7 will be faster than this anyway, so I don’t see the point

      • Chryx
      • 11 years ago

      This should be hugely faster than the numbers in the graph we’ve got as soon as it’s running on a GTX280 or whatnot

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        That’s right, buy a GTX 280 just for your iPhone.

        • Saribro
        • 11 years ago

        Unfortunately, the encode quality will still be crap :/.

    • eloj
    • 11 years ago

    “”Another major consumer codec” will make its way into the software next year, as well.”

    Cool, Ogg Vorbis support!

    • axeman
    • 11 years ago

    BIG Badaboom!

    • Jigar
    • 11 years ago

    Bada (in hindi it means Big) Boom is so Chota (means small) Boom πŸ˜‰

    • crose
    • 11 years ago

    Sounds half-cooked. And since it isn’t beef that ain’t a good thing.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    Waiting for the Apple lawsuit for infringing the look and feel of their cloverleaf key in 3…2…1…

    • jackbomb
    • 11 years ago

    Encoding 1080p at 1.25 fps with x264 ftw!

    I don’t trust these new GPU-powered encoders, and unless x264 becomes GPU-accelerated with ALL of the encoder settings available, I don’t think I ever will.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Err… what?

      • DrDillyBar
      • 11 years ago

      Sounds like he tried it.

    • sigher
    • 11 years ago

    “and it lacks support for DivX and XviD video.”
    Yet they release it and dare to give it a v1.0 number, that’s just ridiculous really.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      I disagree. The part where it gets ridiculous is where they think it’s worth thirty bucks.

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        It could be worth ten if they removed the limitations which pretty much make it a smartphone program right now.
        I mean, what’s up with the resolution limitation, the format limitations, I want something that transcodes anything into anything using my videocard, and /[

        • Shining Arcanine
        • 11 years ago

        The software developers writing it don’t work for free.

          • eitje
          • 11 years ago

          they could be working with nvidia dollars behind them, though.

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          If they make a product that isn’t compelling, they sure do.

    • Rza79
    • 11 years ago

    How does the Avivo Encoder released by ATI 2 years ago compare to this?

    • albundy
    • 11 years ago

    “Blackman made it clear that Elemental doesn’t advocate or support ripping copy-protected discs.”

    Doesnt that defeat the purpose of the ipod/iphone and badaboom and even CUDA itself? Its your disc. do whatever you want with it.

      • sativa
      • 11 years ago

      i doubt they have the capital to fight the media industry groups about the legality of cracking their encryption.

      also, i’m curious about how you came to the conclusion that ripping copy-protected discs defeats the purpose of CUDA. CUDA’s main market isn’t the warez and media pirating scene.

    • mr_greedy
    • 11 years ago

    The link on their site don’t work either..

    Bada-BOO πŸ™

    • Vaughn
    • 11 years ago

    How fast is this compared to the Avivo encoder that is part of CCC ??

    • cygnus1
    • 11 years ago

    Does it support queuing encode jobs? If not, I’m not that interested.

    • LiamC
    • 11 years ago

    No AMD/ATi support, no Badaboom.

    I smell NVIDIA marketing dollars

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      Probably, but that’s good business by NV and not in a sleazy or bad way at all. If the two major GPU companies want their GPU to be used as more than just video cards they have to team up and push the programming and applications side. It can take many forms, from straight money to a GPU company divisoin to support programming for their GPU.

    • ew
    • 11 years ago

    I wonder why it doesn’t support every format with a direct show filter for input?

      • swaaye
      • 11 years ago

      I wonder if you can feed it a AVISynth script? πŸ™‚

        • Forge
        • 11 years ago

        Nope.

          • swaaye
          • 11 years ago

          Wow this app is super limited. Being able to load up AVISynth scripts would solve a huge part of that. Unfortunately the encoder options are very limited too.

          There’s no way to even do IVTC other than what looks like “force film” which is often very not useful. And, the deinterlace option freezes up the whole app on encode every time for me.

      • sigher
      • 11 years ago

      Seems to me that if it would support direct show codec it could not recode quicker than things can be decoded by classical codecs, in short it would be the same speed as all other encoders.

        • Forge
        • 11 years ago

        Supporting directshow or avisynth input has NOTHING to do with encoding speed.

        If your encoder is limited by the speed of your decoder, it’s almost impossibly fast or your decoder is horribly bad. Badaboom is nowhere near that speed.

          • mr_greedy
          • 11 years ago

          Yup. What you said. πŸ™‚

          • sigher
          • 11 years ago

          Well that’s not completely true, some video you can indeed play at relatively high speed, but some resist such attempts beyond a certain point, and I don’t even mean HD content.
          Not to mention that having MS’s layer inbetween something won’t help any program really I imagine 😑
          Incidentally, I heard reports about that GPU accelerated thing from cyberlink and it said that that also only accelerates working with non compressed source video, so clearly there’s a bottleneck in the directshow stuff or it would be a very quaint coincidence (or code theft I guess).

    • mr_greedy
    • 11 years ago

    The beta crashed and burned and burned and burned for me.

      • Spotpuff
      • 11 years ago

      That’s a lot of burning.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    So, ignoring the “copy protected DVD” bit for a second, does the tool support VOB input files or not?

      • swaaye
      • 11 years ago

      Look at the screenshot. Video_TS folder sounds like something that came out of a “special” DVD program. πŸ™‚

        • Cyril
        • 11 years ago

        q[< Look at the screenshot. Video_TS folder sounds like something that came out of a "special" DVD program. πŸ™‚ <]q Actually, that icon shows up there by default so you can pick out video files from DVDs.

    • BRiT
    • 11 years ago

    I hope the quality of the encode is better than the beta version, which frankly sucked goats.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Leeloo : “Biiiiig bada boom.”

      • SecretMaster
      • 11 years ago

      Haha. Very nice. Now lets go to Fhloston Paradise.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        nVidia: “Are we green?”

        Elemental (while choked): “Super l[

        • xtalentx
        • 11 years ago

        Don’t forget your multipass

      • alloyD
      • 11 years ago

      haha, I just saw that movie for the first time a few days back.

        • gooch02000
        • 11 years ago

        great flick.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 11 years ago

      I love this film. The reference to this film was far more interesting than the notes on the buggy software.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 11 years ago

      First DVD I owned.

      • axeman
      • 11 years ago

      Dammit I missed this comment, and thus, repeated it (see #39). Highly underrated movie IMHO.

        • SHOES
        • 11 years ago

        also the first dvd i ever bought..

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