Vizrt, Adactus look to optimize mobile video

Vizrt is introducing a new software application that optimizes the quality of streaming video and related graphics to ensure mobile device users get the best experience for their device, the first fruits of its 19% stake in Norwegian-based mobile video technology company Adactus.

“We split the graphics content from the video content and then use the MPEG-21 standard to build a multimedia delivery platform,” says Peder Drege, Adactus manager. “Content providers will know in detail what kind of devices they are distributing content to.”

The technology is a major step forward for content providers that are looking to mobile devices for revenues. Distributors and content owners face a number of challenges: from reformatting content for different size screens and phones to figuring out how to make sure the content is delivered in a timely fashion.

Today’s solutions often involve compromises like simplifying graphics or shortening the video. But the new 3G system from Vizrt and Adactus is looking to bring the “create once, publish everywhere” model to the cellphone market.

The key to the technology is the MPEG-21 service. MPEG-21 is the multimedia standard, now also with a status as the ISO standard ISO 21000, that fits the elements that build the infrastructure for consumption and the elements that deliver multimedia together. By using standardized descriptors the consumption chain can be adapted to fit the individual mobile device—not just the model number.

And that’s an important capability as two of the exact same phones, for example, could deliver vastly different 3G experiences. Processing power, what version of the operating system is being used and the amount of available memory in the device all impact the throughput rate of data. And the strength of the signal can also slow down or speed up the delivery.

“By scaling the content properly to fit the device’s capabilities we can give them a better experience where they don’t have to wait for the content to slowly download,” says Drege. The system can also scale HTML objects on Web pages to make them fit the small screen experience.

Isaac Hersly, Vizrt Americas president, says the new product is the next logical step for mobile content producers like ESPN and Adactus is already talking to TV2 in Norway and others about deploying the system.

The technology arrives at the perfect time as mobile services continue to gain more interest from both consumers and content owners. But challenges abound. Consumers today don’t want to be boxed in and forced to give up their favorite cellphone to receive next-generation services. And content producers and cellular network providers don’t want to deploy the manpower to reconfigure data for each individual type of device. By automating the process, and separating the graphics from the video to optimize the quality of the material, Vizrt and Adactus believe they can make the 3G experience a great one.

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