A media server consists of dedicated hardware and software (physical server and application program) that is responsible for providing multimedia on demand. They are commonly used in professional capacities, such as concerts or live theaters, as well as for private use for easy access to a wide variety of media.
With an upscale media server, you can go beyond simply projecting multimedia. It’s possible to get very clean stitching and blending between multiple projectors to create a seamless image.
From private events to large corporate events, needs for large video displays showing more pixels than ever before are increasing. Many use cases require stunning visual content at resolutions as high as 8K (7680×4320 pixels). If not, a mix of 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video streams is often needed. What makes 8K significant is that it effectively "erases" the appearance of pixels. As you consider larger video displays (ex. wall projection for digital art, digital advertising, etc.), you will want to consider 4K or 8K so that your images look "pixel-less.
A media server should be capable of storing large media files and managing playback of these content.
With the growth of 4K and the push towards 8K, purchasers would be wise to take a ‘future-proof’ approach to media servers.
Before selecting a media server, determine your own playout needs. Will you need multiple 4K channels? Is 8K on the horizon? Then buy a media server that will have enough ‘headroom’ in terms of performance and storage for its expected operational lifespan.
A media server’s hardware is only as good as the software that operates it. Make sure you select the right software for your intended use whether its managing recording and playback of 4K/8K content or video mapping. Make sure that hardware and software interact seamlessly to deliver the solutions you need.
A modern media server needs lots of processing power to serve 4K and 8K video streams reliably with no hesitations or dropouts. Get as much CPU capacity as you can afford, and make sure that your system supports the highest-possible data transfer rates. Whether in 8K or 4K, these video streams need to be uncompressed to fill gigantic screens with as much detail. Compressed video may look good on a 70" display, but it won’t cut it on a massive video wall.
Serving such massive pixel playouts often requires media servers with sheer processing power, large hard drive capacity, and rock-solid reliability to keep these playouts running without interruption 24/7.
One of the popular applications of a media server is video mapping. Also referred to as VJing, it is a visual performance which creates and manipulates imagery in real-time through technological mediation in synchronization to music. VJing often takes place at events such as concerts, nightclubs, music festivals and sometimes in combination with other performative arts. Whether your application is a theatrical, corporate or branded event experience, you will be able to apply video mappings for jaw dropping visual effects with the right set of hardware and software.
Video mapping is a discipline that is both artistic and technical, consisting of mixing videos just like a DJ mixes music. Video mapping works using a computer to create animations on a video projection. To be able to display several media (videos or photos) simultaneously and mix them together, the computer used must possess strong computing power so that the end result remains fast and seamless.
To run a video mappings software, your PC will need to meet several performance criteria for processor, graphics card, memory, and storage.
(1) Dual Intel® Xeon® processors with up to 56 cores and 96 PCIe lanes to playout multiple video streams reliably and handle demanding real-time video processing.
(2) A custom motherboard supporting up to 4 full-length, double-width PCIe x16 cards, allowing for the installation of up to 4 high-performance GPUs. Essential for demanding applications such as video mapping (stitching and blending between multiple projectors to create a seamless image).
(3) Large-capacity main memory (max 6TB, 256GB DDR4-2666 card x 24) to process large amounts of 8K/4K data in real-time. Also, it allows you to use several software simultaneously which is needed for live events and VJing.
(4) Supports up to 16 NVMe SSDs (max 256 TB, 16TB SSD x 16) to hold a large volume of high-resolution video files. NVMe SSDs allow fast access to data and users can reap the benefits of using uncompressed data which does not require the use of CPU or GPU resources for decoding and experiences no loss of color information due to conversion.
(5) A custom-designed motherboard utilizing a PCIe switch on the NVMe SSD side rather than the PCIe slot side to prevent slowdown in video transfer speed. This feature is crucial to a smooth and accelerated processing of heavy 4K and 8K video streams.
Source: Media Server Keeps Up with 8K, Multiple 4K Streams by AVNetwork, Choosing a computer HeavyM Tips