The shifting media consumption landscape, in which IP distribution and IP consumption are important imperatives for traditional broadcasters as well as new media companies, is driving uptake of x86 processors within media workloads.

According to ABI Research, these changes, which rely on software defined network (SDN) and more general virtualisation technologies, have prompted growth in the x86 market, which is forecasted to grow from 43% market share in 2013 to 51% market share in 2020.

With IP video services growing, live-streaming and file-based multi-format encoders are growing rapidly, while fixed contribution and broadcast encoders are seeing slower growth. Due to a growth curve in catch-up TV and multiscreen delivery, VOD and CDN growth are expected to be strong as IP video continues to grow, with CDNs seeing faster growth due to the broader need for HTTP-based delivery.

Meanwhile, higher levels of semiconductor integration blur the boundaries, with system on chips (SoC) merging x86 or ARM processors with DSPs becoming the norm, while x86 integration with FPGA has moved into the mainstream.

This convergence and virtualisation comes as a result of a need for flexibility in solutions.

“Cloud video workflows, such as that developed by Elemental and EVS for the FIFA World Cup, place a high priority on software flexibility,” says Sam Rosen, practice director for TV and video.

Intel represents the majority of the x86 market, while vendors such as Xilinx ride its coattails by leveraging x86 acceleration to accommodate newer video standards such as HEVC. If cloud gaming meets or exceeds forecasts, the total media processor market will see a significant boost in growth, especially in the GPU sector dominated by NVIDIA.