As professional broadcasters opt more often for PC technology
in place of high-priced specialty equipment, computer vendors are vying for
their attention this week at the annual National Association of
exposition in Las Vegas.
Among the announcements of new broadcasting products and services:
--MCI unveiled a new service called MCI
HyperMedia designed to deliver multimedia applications over the company's high-bandwidth network. The service will support a
variety of applications, including digital video distribution, database
applications, on-demand corporate training, and telemedicine.
Microsoft and NBC are the first to test HyperMedia, launching a system for delivering video to television
network affiliates via the network. The new system is expected to improve
service for 20 NBC affiliates, which now have to schedule delivery of
news and promotional clips via satellite well in advance of broadcast. NBC
and Microsoft will jointly engineer the trial, which will also combine
technology from Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics, Fore Systems, and Cisco
--Sun Microsystems Computer Corporation
and Minerva Systems announced an
integrated solution for delivering interactive video applications over
corporate intranets. The solution will combine the Sun MediaCenter video
server and Minerva Publisher MPEG encoding system so that corporations can
develop and deploy video applications using a single package.
--Hewlett-Packard teamed with Avid Technologies
to develop an open version of Avid's AirPlay video-playback software for
HP's video hardware server. The AirPlay software will be able to control
digital transfer of video from Avid's Media Composer nonlinear editing
system to the HP MediaStream broadcast server. The solution will begin
shipping late this year.
--Digital Generation Systems announced the DG
Advantage Audio Communications Server, which allows radio stations to
view audio inventory and traffic instructions as well as access audio
files through Web browsers over an intranet. The company has partnered with
Netscape Communications to provide a
software solution for radio broadcasters.
subsidiary today previewed the next version of Softimage Eddie, its video
compositing, editing, and processing tool. The new version of the
application, which runs on Silicon Graphics' Irix operating system, includes interface
improvements, motion tracking and stabilizing technology, enhanced paint
capabilities and effects, and integration with Softimage 3D, the company's
3D software development kit.
--Microsoft and Play will unveil a high-end video production
system for Windows NT on Monday at the National Association of
Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas.
The two companies will jointly market a package that includes Microsoft's Softimage Digital Studio video
editing environment and Play's Trinity desktop video hardware. By joining
forces, the two companies say they plan to bring broadcast quality to
desktop PCs for a fifth of the
price of dedicated systems. The new system will
include professional audio editing, 2D and 3D paint capabilities, special
compositing, titling, and project management tools. Pricing for the system,
which will be available in the fall, has not been
--IBM announced IBM Video Services, a
network-based video transmission service that gives PC users access to video
on demand from their desktops. The service will use ATM (Asynchronous Transfer
Mode) technology to distribute video through the IBM Global Network to
users. IBM Video Services will be available commercially later this year, with a
rollout in 41 U.S. cities by 1997 and 18 international cities by 1998.
--High-end graphics software vendor Alias|Wavefront launched
WebAnimator, an advanced graphics-creation program that includes virtual
reality modeling language (VRML) capabilities. The package also comes with
general 3D modeling, animation, and rendering tools. WebAnimator, priced at
available now for the Irix version of Unix used on Silicon Graphics systems.
The NAB exposition is one of the premier events for broadcasting technology
professionals. Portions of the conference will be
broadcast on the Internet.