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BitGravity shows off inexpensive HD live-streaming

Company at Demo 09 says its technology can offer streaming with delay of just seconds for about half the cost of its competitors' products.

PALM DESERT, CALIF.--Why would a church live-stream in HD?

That's a question that BitGravity--which was the first to present Monday morning here at Demo 09--wants to answer.

Of course, churches live-streaming is only the tip of the iceberg for Burlingame, Calif.-based BitGravity. The company is likely to be putting most of its energy into selling its technology--which can put an HD stream (or standard-def, of course) on the Web with a delay of just seconds--to media firms, such as TV networks, that want a way to put their content online inexpensively and efficiently.

"Next month, we're going to deliver a product that we believe is truly stunning," Bit Gravity CEO Perry Wu said. "Who wouldn't want a higher clarity picture?"

During his presentation, Wu showed off a stream that the company had set up from its headquarters and which it was controlling remotely. And indeed, Wu and a co-presenter were able to change the stream easily and seamlessly--and with an apparent delay of mere seconds.

Wu said the HD-quality stream can be sent at 1.5 megabits per second, all with no client download. That means for any stream, anyone can watch anywhere on the Internet, which is certainly a nice feature for making content instantly and easily accessible.

Further, the technology is quick and simple to set up. Wu and his colleague demonstrated the ability to get a live stream (in standard-def using the built in camera on a Mac laptop) in under a minute. That certainly is impressive, though it's unclear how many people would want to pay significant money to stream live from their computer's camera.

The live stream (in standard-def) from Demo 09, as presented on the CNET News Demo roundup page. BitGravity

Still, the concept of simplicity, efficiency and low cost (relative to competitors) is the point, and it definitely seems that BitGravity has built something that anyone with a budget for live-streaming, whether in HD or standard-def, can afford. In fact, Wu said that BitGravity's service costs about half of what its competitors charge.

For TV networks or large organizations, this is a big factor, especially given the current economic conditions. But cost aside, the ability to get high-quality streams online in just seconds may trump even that.

For an example of the technology, check out the Demo live-stream at the bottom of our Demo 09 roundup page.