Developments to Watch
GET READY FOR THE TV STATION ON YOUR DESK
WILL VIDEO-ON-DEMAND COME to your PC before your TV? Could be, if VDOnet Corp. has its way. On Oct. 30, the Santa Clara (Calif.) startup was to introduce a new technology called VDOlive that it says will allow rudimentary, live video to be sent over the Internet and received over ordinary phone lines.
One part of VDOnet's system is a new compression algorithm that not only squeezes video data small enough for transmission over standard phone lines, but also improves the picture when it gets a faster connection. The other element is a new communications protocol that prevents packets of video data from being scrambled or bunched up as they pass over the Internet.
VDOlive won't challenge television anytime soon: At most, 10 frames per second can be sent--even with fast, 28.8-kilobit-per-second modems and no heavy traffic on the network. But with speedier ISDN (integrated services digital network) phone lines, which are arriving fast, broadcast-quality, 30-frame-per-second video may be possible. VDOnet Chief Executive Asaf Mohr hopes the technology will usher in an era in which anyone with an Internet connection can become a video broadcaster.EDITED BY PETER COY