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Analysis for 'Inlet'

  • Quite a Week for M&A In Online/Mobile Video

    It's been quite a week for M&A in online and mobile video. On Monday, KIT Digital announced it was acquiring Kewego, KickApps and Kyte. Then today Cisco bought Inlet Technologies to flesh out their Videoscape platform and Tremor Media reportedly acquired mobile ad manager Transpera. That's a lot of activity for just one week, and points to how key players are jockeying for bigger slices of the online and mobile video market. The trend will no doubt continue.

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  • Auditude and Inlet Partner for Ads In Live Flash Streams

    Ad manager Auditude is partnering with Inlet Technologies to deliver an automated ad insertion solution for live video streaming using Flash. The move means that media companies can better monetize live streaming events which have more complex ad insertion and management characteristics than do on-demand streams. Under the arrangement, Inlet's Spinnaker streaming appliances can detect cues from Auditude's ad manager in order to insert the right ads at the right time.

    Serving ads in live streams has been a differentiator for Auditude, helping it recently land its first Asian deal with Allies Pacific Sports Network which has the rights to stream MLB games in various Asian countries. The deal was similar to one which Auditude has with Yahoo for MLB games domestically. Live streaming as a whole is growing rapidly and offers another exciting online video distribution opportunity for rights holders. The proliferation of both connected devices (allowing on-TV viewing) and mobile devices (allowing on-the-go, remote viewing), both suggest even broader appeal for live streaming events.

    Still, with its unpredictable ad breaks with inconsistent durations, inserting ads in live streams is a new challenge. By helping ease the operational complexity and improve the ROI of live streaming, Auditude and Inlet will help the market grow.

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  • Seeing 3D Streaming Video For the First Time at NAB Show

    It's no surprise that 3D is a major focus here at the NAB Show this week. But with all the market attention on how and when consumers might upgrade yet again, to an expensive 3D television set, one thing I've wondered about for a while is when might we see 3D online video streaming to standard monitors. At last, I saw a demo of this in the Microsoft booth yesterday. Microsoft showed a live stream of German broadcaster TVN's control booth (yes, pretty boring stuff but something live was needed), delivered in 3D to both a computer monitor and also to a Panasonic 3D TV.

    The diagram below shows the details. The broadcast was captured by a 3D camera and encoded using Inlet's Spinnaker 7100 HD streaming appliance at 3 mbps in 720p HD. The files were delivered via Level 3's network which used Microsoft's IIS Smooth Streaming delivery to the PC running Silverlight. Then Silverlight does something called "anaglyph rendering" which means delivering 2 offset images in different color layers. Using the 25 cent blue-red paper glasses you've no doubt seen before, the images are fused and I was able to see the TVN control booth in 3D.



    Microsoft positioned this as a proof of concept, but with all the technical pieces already in place, the idea of streaming a live 3D event online seems very close at hand with a potentially quick ramp of activity thereafter. Recall that the 2009 French Open tennis tournament was the first live HD streaming event, and less than a year later there have been a number of HD streaming sports events (e.g. NFL games, Olympics, etc.).

    After viewing the TVN stream on the PC monitor I then watched it on the Panasonic plasma 3D TV, using $150 glasses. Instead of using the anaglyph technique, the TV and glasses use something called "active shutter" whereby the TV signals to the glasses to open and close each lens at double the frame rate in order to create the 3D experience. While this higher-end set up provided an improved 3D experience, with colors in particular looking sharper and truer, if you didn't have this set up in your home (which most people won't for many years), the PC experience still feels like a big step up from HD.

    3D is clearly the next big thing in video delivery, yet with the replacement cycle for expensive 3D TV sets limited, 3D online streaming could represent an important starting point, introducing 3D to a huge number of users for modest expense. And for Silverlight and Microsoft generally, it could be another differentiator vs. Flash as Adobe continues its skirmish with Apple. It will be interesting to see how it is adopted and rolls out.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).


    (Note - Silverlight is a VideoNuze sponsor)
     
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