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Breakthrough products eliminate bandwidth & cost barriers enabling delivery of high quality video

BTG : 08 October, 2006  (Company News)
BTG, the global technology commercialisation company, today announced it will market a portfolio of MPEG-compatible video distribution products developed by Digital Interactive Streams, Inc. (DiStream) that will enable the delivery of near DVD quality digital video at 1 Mbps over existing telephone and cable networks with unprecedented security measures.
This partnership will allow BTG and DiStream to leverage their respective strengths, DiStream continuing to improve and provide advanced video delivery products, and BTG making sure the products are strategically marketed around an IP portfolio built to deliver a competitive advantage.

“BTG has strong capabilities and experience commercialising technologies that enable efficient distribution of multimedia, such as data compression and speech coding,” said Anthony V. Lando, Executive Vice President & Director of BTG’s Electronics, Engineering & Information Technologies division. “We had been looking for advanced technologies that could optimise distribution of digital video and are pleased that DiStream and BTG have converged to bring to market what we believe is the most cost-efficient way to distribute video-on-demand to the home. We have received enthusiastic feedback from a number of potential licensees, and look forward to delivering a technology with the quality, speed and compatibility that customers have come to expect.”

DiStream’s family of MPEG-compatible solutions permits the use of low bit rates for distribution of video by correcting, after decompression, the visual artifacts associated with the pervasive encoding mechanisms in use today. This solution effectively allows for over-compression at the encoder end without creating image degradation at the receiving end. The result is not only the delivery of near DVD quality video with only 25% of the bandwidth required to transmit a cable TV MPEG-2 stream, but also the reduction of the required storage capacity per video by up to 75%. This is a huge potential savings in capital expenditures for DiStream’s clients. DiStream’s solutions are compatible, but not dependent, on the MPEG family of video distribution standards - providing customers with maximum flexibility in their encoder choice and obviating the need for industry to adopt a new codec specification.

“We provide an end-to-end solution for companies that want to competitively engage in the distribution of feature length films, videos, and other related types of media to their customers without a rebuild of their own current networking infrastructure - resulting in a lower cost of implementation,” said Royal O’Brien, CEO of DiStream. “Some voices in the industry have heralded the inability of block-based encoders to deliver good quality at low enough bit rates for practical VOD. We agreed with them, but injected additional life into these codecs by correcting, after decoding, the artifacts they introduce. We are excited to be working with BTG to build our IP portfolio and to help us market and license our products on a global basis to set-top box manufacturers, semiconductor companies, telecommunications providers and content aggregators.”

The DiStream solution provides the following benefits to video distribution networks and consumers:

Utilises existing network infrastructure to minimise up-front capital investment
Reduces capital costs for content storage and operational expenditures for bandwidth utilisation
Incorporates multiple security features to prevent unauthorised distribution and playback of content
Allows the cost-effective introduction of true VOD services and near DVD quality to full-sized televisions and personal computers over existing ADSL and cable networks
Allows the simultaneous delivery of three different video streams to three different TVs in the home through one set-top box
Enables interactive media services
There are three main software products that operate together to provide the DiStream solution (worldwide patents pending). Digital Video Enhanced Television, or DiVET, provides video enhancement at the user end. DiTRAN provides transcoding and compression mechanisms that optimise DiVET performance. Digital-Enterprise Management System software, or DiEMS, provides the turnkey tool-sets to build the first low bit rate, distributed farm of video servers incorporating multiple security layers. DiEMS is designed for secure delivery of high quality, full-screen video content using VOD, download and store, and streaming models.

DiVET is an intelligent and adaptive small footprint real-time software-based video correction engine, which can also be embedded into video processing chipsets. DiVET capitalises on low-cost processing power to eliminate the visual artifacts introduced by the video compression applied to the video payload upstream and to render near DVD quality video. This allows the over-compression of the video payload upstream, thus enabling the delivery of video at low enough bit rates to support VOD over ADSL and two-way cable plants. Many telephone companies have upgraded, or are in the process of upgrading, their networks to improve the transmission of data at high speeds throughout the network backbone. However, copper wire continues to connect most residential subscribers to the network. Referred to as the “last mile” or local loop, this copper wire infrastructure traditionally creates a bottleneck in the delivery of high-speed data to residential subscribers. DiVET essentially eliminates the need to upgrade the last mile in order to deliver VOD.

DiTRAN is a faster than real-time transcoder allowing for the conversion of any high bit rate video format or broadcast streams to any low bit rate DCT-based format (e.g. MPEG-4). Coupled with DiPlex, DiTRAN allows access providers to deliver multi-channel video over the existing network architectures used solely for data today, or cable operators to optimise their bandwidth utilisation. DiStream’s approach to television-on-demand is much more flexible than existing personal video recording solutions that require advanced planning and client storage.

DiStream Enterprise Management System, DiEMS, extends the platform to integrate and manage a service provider’s network and enables a highly secure client-server solution for the marketplace. This comprehensive solution can deliver an aggregated media offering to consumers, including VOD, audio-on-demand, Internet access, menu controls, and an interactive program guide. Additionally, DiStream has developed a high quality MPEG-4 encoder application (DiCode), a video multiplexing system for aggregating video streams (DiPlex), and encryption and authentication mechanisms to prevent unauthorised users from displaying video content (DiCrypt). One derivative use of DiCode is for storage of digital archives of film, using as little as a third of the storage space and taking half the time of existing storage methods.
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