Tech Briefs


New Approach to VOD

At the NAB Show, SeaChange and Anystream will roll out a VOD system for broadcasters and networks. Dubbed Agility VOD, the system is intended to make it easier for content owners to prep content for VOD distribution. Routine tasks, like bug insertion and fade in/fade out between segments, are completed without user intervention. SeaChange handles the storage- and content-metadata; Anystream's Agility software automates the conversion. Content can also be readied for distribution to Web sites and mobile phones.

Fujinon's Focus

With more viewers watching on large HDTV sets, there's more pressure on camera operators at live events to make sure their shots are completely in focus. That's one reason Fujinon is rolling out its Precision Focus Assist system that works with many of its lenses. It's not an auto-focus system but rather a unit that lets the operator use a roller-ball type controller to select a specific focus point anywhere on the viewfinder. The user can also position the focus point above a moving object, and the lens will keep the camera in focus as the camera is panned and tilted. Fujinon Marketing Manager Dave Waddell boasts, “This system leaves the days of unfocused, blurry high-definition images behind us.”

Lining Up for BBC Broadcast

Thomson/Technicolor and Ascent Media Group are among bidders vying for the BBC Broadcast division, which will be sold in September. BBC Broadcast is the largest playout- and channel-management organization in the UK and a provider of next-generation distribution technologies, such as video via broadband and mobile phones. Financial bidders expressing interest include Bank of Scotland Corporate, The Carlyle Group, and Montagu Private Equity.

Envivio Goes Mobile

Envivio will introduce two series of MPEG-4 encoding systems for mobile and HD applications at the NAB Show. The 4Caster Mobile series of real-time MPEG-4 encoders distribute audio and video to mobile-phone and mobile-TV subscribers and are compliant with such standards as 3GPP, DVB-H and ISDB-T. The 4Coder Broadcast offline MPEG-4 encoders are for either SD or HD programming.