January 14, 2005
Hawaii DVTS and VLC Technical Information
At the University of Tennessee, we are providing two high-quality, permanent multimedia streams. The first is an audio feed of our radio station WUOT, while the second is a stream of our student television station TVC. Both are multicast streams.
WUOT is being streamed using VLC, and is an MPEG-1 stream running at 448k for superior sound. While any player capable of tuning into a multicast MPEG stream should be able to receive it, we recommend using the free, open-source VLC player available for most popular platforms. Getting the stream is simple. After running VLC, select 'File' and choose 'Open Network Stream' (or similar). Then, pick UDP/RDP Multicast, inserting 126.96.36.199 as the IP, and 1234 as the port. That's it!
We are using DVTS to stream TVC out as raw DV at a constant rate of about 30 megabits. In order to receive the stream, you must use the DVTS client, which for some platforms is integrated within a GUI and for others is a standalone application. Although offered on many platforms, the most stable, robust, and user-friendly version is for Windows (an even more recent version for Windows XP only can be found here and is the suggested version to use on that platform), but Mac and Linux versions are also available. Instructions for opening the stream unfortunately vary from version to version, but essentially you will find a 'Join Multicast' or similar option. The IP to use is 188.8.131.52, and the port is 8000.
January 04, 2005
Royalty-Free Videos Now Available From Discovery EducationSubscribers to Discovery Education's unitedstreaming video-on-demand service now have access to more than 1,000 video clips that have been copyright-cleared by their producers for editing or reproduction by teachers and students in class projects. [More from eSchool News]
November 08, 2004
Is It Time for a Moratorium on Metadata?
- Issue a joint proclamation that the DCMI, MPEG-7 and Semantic Web initiatives are all Official Successes and are Ready for Business.
- Issue a second proclamation calling for a general moratorium on metadata.
- Concentrate on locating objects within a range of mixed-media assets based on context-sensitive queries.
- Ask public-spirited citizens worldwide to contribute their favorite photos, audio fragments, or personal videos to create a culturally diverse corpus of 1 million nontext media assets.
- Embark on a multimedia content differentiation competition that will allow a comprehensive but limited set of objects to be identified: people, places, objects, and life events (births, weddings, deaths, and so on). The catch: Any contributed techniques must apply to multiple encoding formats (pictures, video, audio), and it must include a user interface for managing media classification.
November 02, 2004
CaptionKeeper Recycles TV Captions for Web Streaming
WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) announces the availability of software which enables closed captions created for broadcast and video to migrate to the Web.
CaptionKeeper software automatically converts line-21 captions created for television or video into Web-streaming formats. The software, now available for purchase, uses existing closed-caption data to create caption text suitable for live or archived multimedia presentations via RealPlayer, Windows Media Player and QuickTime Player formats.
CaptionKeeper can be used to:
- Repurpose existing captions of live or pre-recorded television programs for Web streaming
- Repurpose captions of videos archived by universities, libraries and other public and private organizations for online use (distance learning, video kiosks, indexed archives)
- Meet Federal requirements (Section 508, 1194.24-C) by transferring captioned training or educational video content to Web-streaming formats
- Make multimedia content searchable by using captioning text as metadata
September 29, 2004
Educators increasing use of video streaming for the deaf
From the Ohio News Network, September 29, 2004:
"Nobody in the hearing world cared if the video was a little jerky because they had a soundtrack with it," said David Stecca, chief executive of Deaf Video Communications of America Inc. of Wheaton, Ill. "Video streaming is still far from perfect, but with high-speed Internet connection, a deaf person can now see good, clean-motion sign language over the Internet."
Alton Brant, an associate professor of American Sign Language at Clemson University in South Carolina, said deaf people are becoming technologically literate through online programs and other devices at a faster rate than many hearing people.
"I now see everything moving increasingly away from the classroom or campus setting and going online," Brant said. "The possibilities for deaf communication with video streaming and other improving technology are endless.
August 24, 2004
Congressional Budget Office Report: Copyright Issues in Digital Media
The Congressional Budget Office has just released a report, Copyright Issues in Digital Media. According to the report's summary, Congress has three options with regard to the current situation regarding copyright:
- Congress would do nothing and allow market forces to work ("forebearance"). This option would depend on the effective development and implementation of DRM technologies.
- Congress would be to use compulsory licensing to set a price for certain types of creative works. E.g., imposing a tax on computers and using that revenue to may royalties to copyright holders.
- Congress would be to revise copyright law in favor of one of the groups whose interests are at stake in the copyright debate: the copyright owners or the users of copyrighted material. 'Allowing copyright owners to have too much control could exacerbate the compromised efficiency that some differential pricing schemes can create in the presence of weak competitive pressures......Revising copyright law in favor of consumers, in contrast, could lead to inefficiency by making differential pricing less feasible."
August 19, 2004
Geo-Targeting: BBC Multicasting 5 Broadband Streams of Olympics Coverage
The BBC is multicasting five broadband streams of Olympics coverage, a total of 1,200 hours, using the Real 10 player as well as H.264 video and AAC audio standards. To ensure that the streams can only be viewed in the UK, the BBC is also using Geo-IP, a geo-targeting software from Quova. I confess I wasn't familiar with geo-targeting services, but a quick google turned up this backgrounder and a list of vendors. [I had originally thought of geo-targeting as a "feature" shows how fusty I am! but apparently others (Slashdot and Wired) think it's an unreasonable restriction. Censorship seems a bit strong to me, though.]
The University of Tennessee received its letter from Acacia two weeks ago, and since then I've been gathering background information for our IT and Legal Counsel folks. Today I stumbled on this list of resources, prepared by WCET and posted to the DEOS-L list:
"The following resources have been selected to help collaboratively construct an understanding of the history, basis, and extent of Acacia's process patents on streaming audio and video."I. Claims
Licensing request letter (typical) from Acacia to RadioIO
Publication: Letter from Acacia
Legal battle between Acacia and Adult Entertainment industry
Publication: Clickz.com Website
Information on the "Markman" (claim construction) Hearing
Legal battle between Acacia and Hotel On-Demand Video
Legal battle between Acacia and Cable and Satellite TV
Publication: MSNBC News
History of Acacia: patent-buying behavior, bankrupt ventures
Publication: StreamingMedia.com Website
Acacia patent-gathering history, financing history and claims
Publication: CNET News.com Website
History of, value of, and issues with internet patents
Publication: Information Week
All about Claim Construction/Markman Hearings
Publication: National Law Journal
Bar code industry wins case against Lemelson: A great parallel to the Acacia Saga with a happy ending
Publication: Frontline Solutions
Reference to a bibliography of sources that clearly document the prior existence of technologies claimed to be patented by Acacia; describes the technical invalidity of a patent that claims ownership of "prior art"
Publication: Network World Fusion
Searchable database of invalid patents + explanation of why bad patents get through the patent office
Publication: Bad Patents Website
IV. Other Resources
Negotiation of license agreement with eCollege customers
Publication: eCollege Press Release
Acacia Technologies Group company profile
Publication: Yahoo! Finance
A daily weblog detailing the progress of the Acacia issue
Publication: FightThePatent.com Website
A list of resources on the Acacia patent issue
Publication: IMPAI (adult entertainment industry association) Website
July 20, 2004
Comparing Videoconferencing Systems
The current issue of the Bulletin du RISQ (Réseau d'informations scientifiques du Québec) has a fantastic article comparing various videoconferencing solutions, including NetMeeting, iChat AV, DVTS, VCON, Polycom, Tandberg, and others. In French. The same issue also has an interesting interview (in English) with CANARIE's Jane Hermanson, From Videoconferencing to the Access Grid.
Multicast Test Using VideoLAN
We are currently multicasting our local NPR affiliate at 384kbps using VideoLAN, a freely available open source software that supports MPEG1, MPEG2 and MPEG4 streams, IPv4 and IPv6, unicast and multicast. If you are able to receive multicast streams and would like to test our stream, download the VideoLAN client, available in all platform flavors. Once installed, you will need to select File -> Open Network, click on UDP/RTP Multicast, and enter the address 184.108.40.206. And please let us know what you think.
July 12, 2004
Coming Soon: Affordable QuadHDTV Camera, Display System
Imaging Solutions Group expects its QuadHDTV camera to be available in 6-9 months. The camera, developed in conjunction with NASA Ames Research Center with funding from DARPA, provides a video frame rate of 30 frames per second at 8.3 million pixels, 4x current HDTV resolution. "The system allows a person with 20/20 vision standing half a meter away from the screen to see a view that is arguably equivalent to looking through a window, according to the researchers." (This also by way of Piquepaille and Technology Research News.)
Enhancing Collaboration by Merging Screen, Video Images
I first learned of Facetop, a new videoconferencing system developed at UNC-Chapel Hill, through Roland Piquepaille's blog; it's also been featured at Technology Research News and Wired. By superimposing a transparent video image of the user on top of an image of the desktop, the user can appear to interact with the desktop, and view the desktop and the video simultaneously. A point-to-point version places a reflection of the two users side-by-side and allows them to share control of the desktop. Piquepaille has some nice screenshots, but there are many more included in the technical report prepared by the UNC researchers.
June 29, 2004
Novell, RedHat to Bundle Real Client With Their Linux Distros
Novell and RedHat will begin shipping the Helix media player with their Linux distributions, and will bundle and support RealPlayer 10 once it becomes available for Linux later this year. [More]
Tiger iChat AV Features Multiple Connections, MPEG4
The new version of iChat AV shipping with OSX Tiger will utilize H264/AVC (aka MPEG4 Part 10) and will allow up to four clients to videoconference at a time or ten clients for audio only. [Press Release]
Of related interest, iChat AV was recently used to videoconference between Cupertino and a Lufthansa flight from Munich to San Francisco.
June 23, 2004
DVD Forum Ratifies H.264 for Next Generation High Definition (HD) DVDs
Here's the press release.
May 24, 2004
Accessibility in Distance Education
May 20, 2004
NIST Releases Draft Guidelines for VoIP Security
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released draft guidelines for securing Voice Over IP technology. The suggestions include putting voice and data traffic on logically different networks and denying access to the voice gateway from the data network. NIST is accepting comments on the draft through June 18.
May 06, 2004
Speaking of timelines, I also stumbled on this VideoBlogging Timeline.
May 05, 2004
Streaming via Mesh Networks
This article describes a test in which a video image was streamed from a wireless IP camera mounted on a police patrol boat to 30 people stationed on and around the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of relying on physical access points, which would be complicated, expensive, and time-consuming to install, the Golden Gate users had devices with off-the-shelf 802.11b WLAN cards and an early version of wireless mesh software from PacketHop. The PacketHop software creates a peer-to-peer mesh network, where each wireless client becomes a routing node that's aware of all its neighbors and can pass data and images among them. The range depends on what kind of 802.11 radio the client has, radio power levels and antenna design. In the Golden Gate test, the WLAN radios in the NICs ran at the highest power level allowed, 200 milliwatts. According to PacketHop, the 11b client radios meshed with each other at ranges of 1,500-2,500 feet.
May 03, 2004
Dirac in Alpha Release from Sourceforge
"In January 2003, BBC R&D produced a prototype video coding algorithm, based on wavelet technology, which is different from that used in the main proprietary or standard video compression systems. Our algorithm seems to give a two-fold reduction in bit rate over MPEG-2 for high definition video (e.g. 1920x1080 pixels), its original target application. It has been further developed to optimise it for internet streaming resolutions and seems broadly competitive with state of the art video codecs."
"At the moment the codec, called Dirac, is in the early stages of development. It has been developed as a research tool, not a product, as a basis for further developments. An experimental version of the code, written in C++, was released under an Open Source licence agreement on 11th March at http://sourceforge.net/."
April 16, 2004
Interview with Leonardo Chiariglione
Reposted from slashdot (14 Apr 04):
JasonFleischer points out this "interview with Leonardo Chiariglione, digital video pioneer and founder of the MPEG standards committee, is available on the public access section of Scientific American's website. In the interview Chiariglione explains the motivations and hopes for his new Digital Media Project -- an attempt to integrate existing technologies to create a transparent, universal, non-proprietary system for digital rights management. Of particular interest to some
/.ers may be his old article from Linux Journal that talks about the relationship between Open Source and MPEG standards."
April 15, 2004
Wireless LAN, High Quality MPEG-4 Video Conferencing
Featuring the latest developments in wireless LAN technologies together with the latest MPEG-4 hardware compression codecs and a new Head Up Display, the VisiWear ST3100 is built to meet your needs for remote collaboration.