Matrox has announced two hardware products that encode H.264 video at faster-than-realtime rates, according to the company. The CompressHD is available in 'for Mac' and 'for Windows' versions that are pitched respectively at users of Apple's Final Cut Studio and the video tools within Adobe's Creative Suite 4 -- including After Effects, Premiere Pro and Encore.

Both use the same low-profile, half-length PCI Express x1 card, which can be slotted into Apple Mac Pros and most PC workstations. They both work in systems with or without capture/playback hardware and include a a specialized, dedicated hardware processor to allow the faster-than real-time creation of H.264 files, for resolutions ranging from iPod to HD, says the company.

Matrox says that CompressHD for Mac includes direct integration with Apple Compressor to simplify workflow. It can create Blu-ray H.264 files that can be authored in Adobe Encore CS4 or Roxio Toast 10 and burned without re-encoding. It supports Apple's Qmaster to take advantage of multiple systems with a Matrox MAX processing engine -- such as those with CompressHD or the Max versions of Matrox's MX02 hardware -- for distributed encoding across a network.

CompressHD for PC is integrated with Adobe's Media Encoder and allows the creation of Blu-ray h.264 files for use in Encore CS4.

Both versions of CompressHD cost £375/€449/US$495 excluding VAT or other local taxes.