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Infocomm 2010: Streaming Video Key to Telepresence, Rich Media Capture Announcements

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Yesterday's article from the InfoComm showfloor looked at the show's influence in audio distribution and digital signage, including the use of streaming to move both uncompressed and compressed content around campuses, entertainment venues and houses of worship.

The other two areas of influence-rich media capture and telepresence-are the topic of today's article.

Rich Media Capture
This market has been dominated by Accordent and Sonic Foundry, and both made announcements at this week's show.

We'll cover Accordent's strategic approach to the market in the next few weeks, but it's worth mentioning that the company's announcement at the show of an Express version of its Accordent Media Management System (AMMS).

On the hardware capture side, Sonic Foundry announced a new portable Mediasite ML Recorder, which is significantly smaller than the previous version, has the ability to capture DVI or HDMI non-copy-protected content and can also automate closed captioning via the version 5.4 software package.

"We have also added Silverlight multicast support," said Rob Lipps, executive vice president of Sonic Foundry, "and are strongly exploring H.264 encoding-since Silverlight and IIS support it-to complement our current Windows Media audio and video encoding."

A rack-mount unit also released at the show has an HD input card option, although the company says its encoding profiles still only support SD video streams. Since many educational institutions are putting HD cameras in new lecture capture room, the HD input card  means that a sharper video signal will reach the codec, resulting in higher-quality SD streams.

Ncast, a company whose focus has been on live streaming of graphics, including full-motion capture of DVI/HDMI signals, announced a lectern-mounted capture unit capable of selecting between any two of the input connectors: composite video, VGA, DVI, HDMI, and component video.

Using an H.264 codec, Ncast can deliver both signals are part of a single raw H.264 stream. One of the signals will be sized to its full size, while the other will be in a positionable picture-in-picture (PIP) configuration.

"Our customers don't need to worry about synchronizing slides, web pages, or computer capture with a video stream of the lecturer," said Hank Magnuski, founder of Ncast. "All the content is already synchronized, and can be delivered as a single 720p video stream."

Ncast uses the Wowza Media Server, which I'll be reviewing in the next few weeks, to convert the raw H.264 stream wrappers to allow playback in either a Flash or QuickTime player.

Wowza, for its part, announced that yet another videoconferencing company has chosen its software server as an integral part of a telepresence strategy. Following on the heels of Wowza's inclusion in Tandberg's streaming strategy (now a part of Cisco), this week's Wowza announced it will license its Wowza Media Server 2 to LifeSize Communications, now a part of Logitech.

"We've seen significant interest in the telepresence space," said Dave Stubenvoll, CEO of Wowza. "Two years ago, there was little interest in streaming tie-ins to videoconferencing, but the increase in HD videoconferencing and telepresence means that many telepresence manufacturers are looking to us to provide protocol conversion so that desktop users can view a stream of an ongoing videoconference."

It's little wonder that the videoconferencing companies are expressing interest: Frost & Sullivan claims the telepresence market is expected to reach $4.7 billion by 2014.

LifeSize will integrate Wowza Media Server 2 into the LifeSize Video Center.

"Wowza shares our vision to make HD video communications accessible to anyone, anywhere," said Rafi Anuar, product manager, LifeSize Communications. "The integration of Wowza software helps us give customers a cost-efficient video delivery architecture while expanding the type of devices they reach."

Besides the ability to output 1,000 simultaneous live streams, the LifeSize Video Center acts as a videoconferecing recorder, recording up to 20 concurrent HD sessions and then allowing viewing of up to 350 simultaneous on-demand 720p streams.

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