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5/04/2007 08:00:00 PM Eastern

SeaChange creates flash-memory VOD system

Video-on-demand (VOD) vendor SeaChange has developed a VOD server that uses flash-memory storage instead of hard disk. The new MediaServer Flash Streamer, which will be demonstrated at NCTA in Las Vegas this week and ship in the third quarter, is designed to store the most popular content at the “edge” of a VOD architecture, or in hubs serving a few hundred or thousand homes. That will allow cheaper disk storage to be used at a central content repository, says SeaChange Director of Storage Bang Chang, while operators get the reliability, lower power and maintenance costs of flash memory at the edge. A two-rack-unit will store 300 hours of SD video and support 1,000 VOD streams.

SeaChange will also show the next-generation of its Axiom VOD software, as the company seeks to fulfill requests from large operators like Comcast to separate its specialized software from its hardware and allow it to work with third-party servers. The latest version, Axiom Core 4.0, will work with VOD servers from Cisco, Concurrent and Motorola, as well as with SeaChange hardware, and is already being rolled out commercially, says Phil Simpson, director of on-demand for SeaChange.

News Corp. Aims To Refresh Ads on DVRs

As consumers increasingly use digital video recorders (DVRs) to time-shift their TV viewing—and increasingly fast-forward through the commercials in the process—News Corp. wants to combat the problem by replacing day- to week-old commercials with more timely and/or targeted spots. News Corp. has applied for a U.S. patent for a process by which an MPEG-2 compressed program would be broken up into a series of segmented files that separates program content from commercials and promos. Fresh commercials could then be delivered to the DVR on a “push” basis, through either broadcast or broadband delivery, and new software would be smart enough to record them and then “splice” them into the program when a viewer watches a time-shifted show.