Skinkers second round funding

30 10 2007

Back in July beyondnessofthings reported on Skinkers, a U.K. based company which has been working with Microsoft on a software solution for streaming of live TV. econsultancy reports that the company has just sealed a deal for US $16m (£8m) in second round funding from a consortium led by Acacia Capital Partners. Consortium members include Spark Ventures, which provided $3.5m (£1.7m) in February 2006.

Skinkers will reportedly soon start trialling its LiveStation product with broadcasters

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Live streaming video – even HD – without the burp

2 08 2007

Technology firm Swarmcast has announced the release of a new platform for live video streaming, promising greater QoS, even for high-definition video. The company claims the solution eliminates re-buffering and stalling of long-form video content, over a standard broadband connection and without compromising on picture quality.

The solution “aggregates packets of data from multiple sources in real-time… by blending resources,” [augmented by servers, according to posted feedback from the company’s PR] claims the press release.

Last month the company released Autobahn Accelerator, a free downloadable tool which it claims optimises both video streaming and downloads.





ITV Broadband rollout gathers pace

17 07 2007

UK broadcaster ITV has been slowly adding to its online video service, which now offers a selection of treats from the archives, alongside catch-up episodes of popular soaps like Emmerdale and Coronation Street. Vintage classics such as Morse, the first episode of Brideshead Revisited are offered alongside classic documentaries, such as Diana: Story of a Princess and Whicker’s World. Plus my faves, children’s series Joe 90 and Metal Mickey.

Live streaming of ITV’s four channels is also available, though when I checked in on ITV1 for the tail end of GMTV, all I got was a message saying: “Sorry the current programme is unavailable”.

There are also Celebrity Playlists from the likes of Zoe Ball, This Morning anchors Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton, and Amanda Burton. Not an entirely new concept: iTunes has been doing this for a while and the BBC offered a similar feature during the trial of its iMP service — but ITV do seem to have got the choice of celebs right for the tone of offer which will likely success with its core audience.

At first glance the navigation is woeful: content discovery is anything but intuitive, but there may be method in ITV’s madness. All content is offered as on-demand streams, so it could be the broadcaster’s way of managing capacity.





MSN sets a new online video record

8 07 2007

liveearth.jpg

MSN has disclosed that it had served 10 million video streams by 15oo hrs eastern during yesterday’s Live Earth event, yielding “the most simultaneous viewers of any online concert ever”. I’ll update this post should consolidated figures emerge. This compares with around 5 million unique accessing AOL video streams of Live 8 in 2005, peaking at 175,000 simultaneous video streams; while the BBC’s World Cup streams attracted 1.7 million requests for live games.





Microsoft brings you… live television

8 07 2007

Interesting post from Erick Schonfeld, Microsoft Research and UK company Skinkers are testing p2p software called LiveStation for streaming live television to PCs (a Mac version is also being developed) using Microsoft Silverlight. The technology was first unveiled at NAB in April and is due for full release in October.  There’s nothing particularly new about streaming live TV over the web: in the UK Channel 4 already simulcasts a proportion of its primary network schedule via the 4oD service; ITV is working on similar plans for ITV Broadband; the BBC began live simulcasting of its News 24 network in May; last week Zattoo announced the launch of a UK localised version of its service (which re-transmits TV channels with a 1-second delay); whilst this is something JumpTV has been doing for a while.  But using p2p as a means for live streaming is a more efficient means of distribution bandwidth-greedy TV. Microsoft, Skinkers and any broadcaster partners they eventually sign up will need to do much to educate ISPs on the benefits of this technology, given that regular access to it by an end user on a fixed cap broadband plan will likely result in additional usage charges.

Here’s an interview with Matteo Berlucchi, CEO and co-founder of Skinkers, plus some coverage on arstechnica.