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Senate gets ready to stream hearings

Digital video provider Virage says the U.S. Senate will use its technology to record and stream daily proceedings for a pending video-on-demand service.

Digital video provider Virage on Thursday said the U.S. Senate will use its technology to record and stream daily proceedings for a pending video-on-demand service.

The deal comes as the Senate is converting its internal video system to high-definition television (HDTV) in a deal with digital systems integrator TGS--a switch mirrored in a mandated rollover for U.S. television broadcasters to digital formats by December 2006.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Virage said the system will create a high-definition video-on-demand service that will provide lawmakers with better opportunities to observe and respond to the statements of their colleagues, among other things.

Video from the Senate floor will be transferred to some 400 workstations, where it will be available to Senate staffers for viewing, editing and redistribution. Clips will be encoded in HDTV and standard TV formats, as well as RealNetworks' RealVideo format.

The system will initially store some 60 hours of HDTV video and 200 hours of standard video for retrieval at any given time.

Virage's technology allows digital video libraries to be indexed using voice recognition and other techniques that aid in locating specific clips. Last year Virage signed a deal with Major League Baseball to encode, search and deliver video clips for its popular custom replay service, but the companies have since parted ways.

Virage competes with Convera and Idee, among others.