The beta offering, dubbed Blinkx TV, captures and indexes video and audio streams directly from television and radio broadcasters to make available news, sports and entertainment clips, the company said. The engine lets people group specific searches using "smart folders" that continuously collect multimedia content from sources including Fox News, HBO, ESPN, National Public Radio and the BBC World Service.
Blinkx said the search engine uses patented context clustering technology to overcome the limitations of simple keyword methods.
Multimedia search is capturing the attention of leading Internet and search companies. Yahoo, for instance, this week confirmed reports that it is working on a video search engine. In addition, as earlier reported, Google is recording and indexing TV programming to make shows searchable online. Microsoft is also developing a search engine for video.
Video search is moving toward the mainstream in part because of more widespread adoption of broadband, which is adding to the Internet's allure as an entertainment channel. Another key factor is the increasing convergence of PC and television technologies.
"Groundbreaking automatic transcription technology, which transcribes content straight from the cable box on the fly or from video already stored on the Web, together with advanced phonetic matching speech recognition technology, automate the process of searching TV clips for the first time," Blinkx founder Suranga Chandratillake said in a statement.