What's New in Technology for June 2007

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Technology: Big Broadcasters Strike Back!

In the past, the Internet’s new media have caused a few headaches for the honchos at the large broadcasting companies like ABC, Fox and Time Warner, but now, the big names in broadcasting have the means to tap into, and revolutionize, Web video. Fearing that a whole, generation of potential viewers was becoming hooked on the short – but very jerky—segments on YouTube, Big Media have embraced new technology that will allow them to broadcast smooth streamlined images and deliver complete episodes of hit shows to your computer screen.

Web video has arrived…and soon you’ll be able to watch some of the most popular TV shows on your PC or laptop. Unlike earlier options, including Adobe’s Flash, this new technology is able to provide the high-quality transmission of images that makes viewing a half-hour program a real option. Move Networks, a Utah-based company and a leader in bringing this latest development to market, is providing broadcasters with the means to tap into a new lucrative opportunity. Here’s an overview of how this new generation of Internet-based video delivery works:

    • Move Network’s technology operates in a manner similar to VoIP (voice over Internet protocols). Just as the Internet networks broke telephone messages down into “bits” and transmitted them efficiently over the Internet, Move uses the same methodology to stream images. The company, which has been around for about five years, started out with the idea of developing software to move large files by e-mail. It switched focus to video delivery in 2004 when its founders decided that video was going to be the most important online medium. Move Networks received its financial backing from Hummer Winblad and Disney’s venture capital enterprise, Steamboat Ventures.

    • Unlike systems like Adobe’s Flash, the new Move software does not require special servers or dedicated lines. It retrieves the streamed “bits” from the nearest storage cache, and relays them to the computer screen using the best streaming rate available (which is based on the network’s traffic load). It uses standard Internet protocol, so that means it can use the many server farms worldwide that offer Web pages.

    • Big Broadcast has seized upon the new technology with great zeal. Top-rated shows like Fox’s 24 and ABC’s Lost (to name just two) are now being streamed. It provides Big Media with a further source of potential advertising revenue and the opportunity to more accurately target specific audience groups. Broadcasters can insert sponsors’ names prior to the shows and above the viewing area whilst the show is being streamed.

  • Move Networks estimates that the software currently is handling about a million full TV episodes streams per week, and reports that the number of viewers has been doubling every month. On average, it is delivering as much content on a daily basis as YouTube, but more than the broadcast sites of NBC and CBS.

If you haven’t encountered Move Technology yet, you probably will soon. Fox intends to increase its usage to 200 affiliates this summer from its initial launch involving 24 affiliate stations. Plans are in the works to give consumers video editing tools to enable them to put their own programs together. As Web video comes of age, businesses will gain new opportunities for communicating and interacting with consumers.


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