Video Technology Magazine May 2005               

The Broadcast Flag is Dead.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has shot down the Federal Communications Commission's over-reaching efforts to require hardware to honor the "broadcast flag." The broadcast flag rule was to go into effect for devices manufactured on or after July 1, this year.

The FCC rules would have required circuitry be included as a mandate in all new digital receivers to enforce copy protection. Many devices were already starting to include it.

EFF Presentation on the Broadcast Flag

The Onerous "Broadcast Flag" PC Mag by John C. Dvorak

U.S. appeals court tosses TV anti-piracy measure Washington Post

Slashdot thread on this

Prediction: Congress Will Pass HDTV Copying Law From


The MPAA is working on new legislation to broaden the FCC's power.
This article: "The draft bill says, simply, that the FCC will 'have authority to adopt regulations governing digital television apparatus necessary to control the indiscriminate redistribution of digital television broadcast content over digital networks.' The DC Circuit nixed the flag on the grounds that the FCC didn't have the authority. This language would clear that up"

DVD's are selling 2x over Cinema
I came across some surprising numbers.

In 2004
9.54 Billion Dollars for the US and Canada in Box Office Revenues According to the MPAA
21.2 Billion Dollars in DVD revenues (rental and sales) according to DEG


U.S. Film Industry Is Picture of Health-Officials (Reuters)


Google Answers

Peer to Peer Internet Video Broadcasting
Submitted by Dave Childers of

Unlike standard television broadcasting, there are a limited number of viewers that an Internet television station can accommodate. These limitations are determined by the amount of bandwidth the network media server has available. A popular Internet television station would require large amounts of bandwidth to provide the broadcast to a large viewing audience.

There are readily available software-based broadcasting alternatives that do not require large amounts of bandwidth for Internet television distribution.

Peer to Peer (commonly referred to as P2P) broadcasting allows viewers using specialized software to re-distribute the media broadcasts. This eliminates the need to utilize costly centralized media servers to distribute the broadcast. Any size business or group can establish an effective media broadcast presence without the huge costs normally associated with Internet broadcasting. Only a small amount of bandwidth is required for a global Internet broadcast distribution using this method.

P2P Internet broadcasting provides bandwidth friendly results for low bit rate content (content that is encoded at low speed) and can support a virtually unlimited number of users. This method also provides effective security against Denial Of Service (DOS) attacks which can cripple a centralized server network architecture.

The streaming rate of a P2P broadcast is limited by the overall network bandwidth capacity. Most Internet Service Providers have generally placed a cap on the maximum upload capacity of high speed Internet subscribers. Networks such as this are a frame work of various upload and download bandwidth capabilities. Exceeding the networks overall average bandwidth causes the video broadcast to degrade in quality of service. A typical P2P stream should not exceed 128 kbs.

Network congestion or individual relays ( P2P clients ) departing the network can also cause instability of a broadcast stream. Low bandwidth broadcasts such as audio broadcasts generally do not suffer as much from this anomaly as do higher bandwidth video streams. This problem can be partially alleviated by increasing the stream buffer size within the media player.

There are both commercial and non commercial options that offer P2P broadcast ability for Internet television.

This article will cover free open source software.

Open source is an initiative that allows people to have access to the source code of software. This is the actual nuts and bolts that allow the software to operate. This initiative also allows people the ability to redistribute and or modify the source code thus allowing improvements and adaptations of the software. (


Peercast is a P2P media broadcast application that is available for the Windows, Unix and Mac operating systems. It is compatible with Shoutcast, Icecast and Windows Media streaming protocols.

The software was originally designed to use Gnutella as a basis for broadcast distribution. The software now uses a hierarchical topology for media broadcast distribution. Hierarchical topology (also called Tree Networking) directs data to flow from a point of origin to individual clients. These individual clients allow additional clients to request access to that data flow through them (the individual client). Each additional client within the network will then act as a data relay to others. This new method provides greater scalability and more data organization.

Broadcast station data is collected by the YP directory. This data is continuously updated by individual broadcasters. Listeners / viewers (client software) provide the connection points between themselves, the broadcasters and others.

Each broadcaster has the option of including a digital signature to enable media broadcast authentication. This will prevent their broadcasts from being hijacked and replaced with alternative material.

The following video codecs are supported by Peercast: VP3, VP6, Theora and WMV. Codecs are software programs that allow media to be digitally encoded or decoded using a specific compression architecture. Peercast can also be used for audio broadcasting and can be configured to use several audio codecs. The software can be used to broadcast individual media files or entire playlists of media files as well.

Hardware network routers use Network Address Translation to provide internal IP addresses for computers within a Local Area Network. Traffic flowing through NAT must be converted from internal IP addresses to external IP addresses. P2P traffic routing through NAT usually requires software port forwarding to function properly. Peercast is NAT friendly software and requires no special port forwarding.

A plug-in is available for the popular Winamp media player. (Winamp versions 2.x and 5.x) This can be installed and used by clients to easily receive a Peercast station.

The Peercast network provides a real time online station directory of current broadcasters. (

The main Peercast client must be installed to broadcast using this P2P network.

Additional resources

Peercast Plug-In Information
How to broadcast video with Peercast
Peercast Frequently Asked Questions
Peercast Help
Peercast Community Forum


FreeCast is a Java P2P broadcast application. Users must install the Java Runtime Environment, which is available for the Windows, Unix and Mac operating systems.

This software can source media for broadcasting using several Open Source software applications. These include JRoar, Icecast, Flumotion, EzStream and the Video Lan Client.

The software has a internal audio and video player that supports both the Ogg Vorbis open source audio codec, and the Theora open source video codec. The inclusion of the internal media player allows the software to function without the need of downloading or installing any additional media codecs.

FreeCast can be configured to use the Java Web Start feature for automatically loading and launching the application. This enables a "one click" approach for web based end users.

Each broadcaster has the option of including a digital signature to enable media broadcast authentication. This will prevent their broadcasts from being hijacked and replaced with alternative material.

This software uses a hierarchal method of media broadcast distribution. Each broadcaster acts as a central node with listeners / viewers receiving data from them and relaying to other listeners / viewers.

FreeCast is continuing software development that will allow its deployment across networks that interact with network routers that utilize Network Address Translation (NAT). Port forwarding is currently required to accommodate NAT routers.

The Web Start FreeCast GUI player can be customized with the broadcaster logo and colors. This can allow the software to be integrated with the individual broadcaster’s web site.

FreeCast maintains a directory of stations located here (

Additional resources:

Ogg Vorbis
Video Lan Client

Watching Big Brother
Companies like Martel Electronics, IPT-VisionHawk, Kustom Signals and Mobile-Vision have been selling Police Car video Surveillance system for years.

Up to this point, at the insistence of the police Unions, these systems could be turned on and off by the office in the vehicle and thought of as "video evidence systems" aimed at strengthening cases against suspects. With this in mine, officers are able to turn off and some can even rewind and record over video they didn't want to be seen.

Since September 11, 2001, and the introduction of the USA PATRIOT ACT, these video systems are taking on a new significance.
Every day this week the police have shot and killed a suspect after a car chase, several were aired live on television from local news stations. Much of this video was not flattering for the police.

Due to a rash of Police Brutality cases, things are starting to change. Local governments are starting to see video as a way to reduce liabity by providing verifable proof that the police were acting properly.

"Resisting any change in police methods, are the police advocacy organizations . the unions and their legal representatives . along with police chiefs. The San Jose union strongly rejected public meddling in police killings, so none of the five cases of fatal shootings by San Jose police in 2004 went to an open grand jury."

Palo Alto, Ca - Articles

Police on trial Two Palo Alto CA police are charged with brutally beating a man without cause. Their trial has become a forum on police practices in general
ACLU, Palo Alto, CA Resolution
Committee to discuss police-camera policy
Race relations between police, community tense

Bizarre story

A friends Hummer was stolen from in front of his apartment here in Los Angeles. It was reported stolen at 7 am or so. At 9am a ticket patrol gave the stolen vehicle a parking ticket and as the ticket was being issued the suspect ran in and drove the vehicle away. All of this was recorded on the police car video recording system, and used a evidence for the ticket, since the officer couldn.t catch the plate number, but the video did! One hour later the traffic officer returned and once again caught the thief on video and issued and second ticket on the stolen car.

It was from the tickets being mailed out and quote on the bottom of the ticket stating, "Operator drove off, plate number from video" that we knew they had a video of the incident. Of course the LAPD still expect him to pay the parking fines, and have yet to acknowledge the fact that they have video of the thief in there possession.


Past Articles
Return to MAIN

Star Wars Wars
StarWars Wars
Article on the Boot leg release of Star Wars III ,Revenge of the Sith

BBC begins tests of P2P TV
The BBC has developed the "Interactive Media Player" or IMP is a PC application. Developed in a partnership with Siemens, BBC Broadcast and Kontiki.

IMP will function as a peer-to-peer network, so that content will be exchanged between users, and a digital rights management system will be put in place to ensure that only BBC license fee payers can watch and listen to programs.
This will allow broadband Internet users to download selected BBC television and radio programs.

The BBC is prepairing the launch of an online media service that will launch with a 5,000-person trial this September with around 190 hours of TV programmes and 310 hours of radio programmes

Additional Information

BBC Press Release

Very interesting stuff
Submitted by Terje Oseberg

DV Expo East

Digital Video Expo East is at the Jacob K. Javitz convention center, New York, NY from July 19 to the 21 2005.

DV Expo
full course descriptions

Event DV Magazine from ITI (information Today)
Streaming Media Also from ITI, these guys put on the Streamingmedia shows.

Seeing Around Corners With Dual Photography
From Slashdot
This project (which is part of this year's SIGGRAPH) has absolutely blown my mind. Basically they photograph an object with the photo sensor at one point, and the light projector at another, and use the Helmholtz reciprocity algorithm to virtually switch the locations of the camera and projector, showing exactly what the light source "sees"! If that doesn't make sense to you, check out the research page and make sure to watch the 60MB video at the bottom. The playing card trick will leave you speechless!

Stanford Dual Photography
To download the Bit Torrent video file I recommend BitLord

RGBCMY based video system
The basic color elements of television have not changed much since 1954; a half-century after RCA introduced the first color set, the RGB (red, green and blue) system used then still prevails. But Israeli company Genoa Color Technologies has broken the RGB barrier by adding one to three primary colors such as yellow, cyan and magenta, thus expanding - from 55 to 95 percent - the coverage of the visible color gamut. The promised result of this multi-primary color (MPC) technology is a television picture that, with its truer, more vibrant color and brighter image, looks more like cinema than video. Also covered in IEEE Spectrum.

Printable OLED Display Technology
I keep forgetting to write this one up.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes), LEP (Light Emitting Plastic), PLED (Polymer Light Emitting Diodes), EL (ElectroLuminescence). The technology come in several variation and just as many names, but basically it's a simple platic like materials that light up when electricity is applied. For a long time people have been wanting to make displays using these technologies but the ability to manufacture a high res display just didn't exist.

OLED's hold the promise to allow flexible, Low Power, high resolution, lightweight, inexpensive displays to be mass produced using a simple ink jet printing process. Whole Cinema screens could be producted, that can do better on all measures than projector based systems could ever hope for.

Seiko Epson unveils first 40" color OLED display From Last year. 1280x768 resolution

Cambridge Display Technology
CDT article on yahoo Key New Patents

Universal Display Corporation

DuPont licenses inkjet technology for LEP OLEDs

Displays and consumer electronics borrow from nature

Yahoo Big play
Yahoo Acquired Launch Media for $12 Million back in 6/2001
Before Lanuch was aquired it was planning " new service that Launch will offer to universities nationwide this fall. Bucknell and Georgia Tech are the first universities to sign up for Launch College Direct, which broadcasts music and videos onto campus networks via servers connected to Launch by satellite. The high-volume streaming is achieved through technology developed by iBeam Broadcasting Corporation of Sunnyvale, Calif. Launch is billing it as the ultimate solution to Napster-related network problems at universities. "

Yahoo bought music software developer Mediacode 12/2003 (1) (2)
The Mediacode team includes two founding members of Nullsoft, which created the popular Winamp music player that is now owned by AOL.

Yahoo's new $6.99 per month music subscription service. If it works for music, movies, TV, and video games will follow and Yahoo will have turned its huge user base into a retail channel. (3)

Yahoo hires former AOL exec to help guide media expansion 4/2005 (4)
Shawn Hardin a former executive from rival America Online ,His resume also includes many years in the film industry, as well as a stint as an executive vice president for NBC Internet.
Lloyd Braun, a former ABC television executive hired by Yahoo late last year.

Apple Video
From Cringely
A Slashdot poster (it's in this week's links) purporting to be an Apple employee dropped a couple tidbits that fill-in the blanks for understanding Apple's still unannounced movie download service. The man or woman said that Apple would be fudging somewhat its definition of High Definition video to save bandwidth and required processing power, starting instead of 720p-24 with half-HD and anamorphic 720-by 486 (look in the links for what anamorphic means). Apple may well offer those sub-HD versions of HD, but from the music videos they are already starting to offer in HD I think they'll offer 720p and 1080i, too. Remember, the real market is download-and-play, not streaming.
(I Don't agree with that last statement, there just isn't enough bandwidth and protocols to make that happen yet.- JLS)

The more interesting item in this Slashdot post, however, was the idea of Apple doing a video equivalent of its AirPort Express WiFi repeater that has audio output to link iTunes to your stereo system. This AirPort extension is the last piece needed for Apple's video service and answers a lot of questions. Why doesn't the Mac Mini have an optical audio port? Because the AirPort has one, instead. Why isn't the Mac Mini more powerful? Because it doesn't have to be. The Mini becomes a storage and downloading device and H.264 decoding is handled in the AirPort gizmo using one of the H.264 hardware decoder chips coming on the market for around $20.

So Apple takes over video and movies while Yahoo threatens with a low-priced music subscription service and Google threatens to take control of, well, everything.

AOL Music, SonyBMG in web video deal
America Online is wrapping up an agreement to gain exclusive access to SonyBMG's music videos for its online video-on-demand service, the New York Post

CNN Article

Cool Links
DVD Benchmark
DVD Benchmark Part 3 Functionality

Copyright © 2004, John L. Sokol
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