Deep in the bowels of Fall Internet World in New York Wednesday, IBM Corp was showing off its latest video technology, called HotVideo that replicates the functions of hyperlinks within a video clip. It means that developers can associate hyperlinks with video objects. The links, which can be from a web site, local hard disk, CD-ROMs or files on a server can connect to text, graphics, audio or video, so when a user are viewing a video, they can click on it to find out more. The initial market is likely to be advertising and news organizations – CNN is beta-testing right now – but in time IBM expects education to be a ripe market, especially distance learning. The technology, which was developed at the company’s Watson Research laboratory and at a Beijing university where IBM has a team, supports all popular video formats, including AVI, MPG, DAT, RealMedia and MOV and can run on top of the Java Media Framework and support is being added for MPEG. IBM is offering a HotVideo authoring tool, the standalone player, a browser plug-in, an ActiveX control, as well as a Java version, which is in alpha and should be ready for beta within 60 days. The current beta version runs on Windows 95. Developers can offer ways to identify the area in which the link resides, by coloring it, drawing a box round it, and so on. Users can be alerted when they are over a link by a change in the cursor, or color light indicators. The complete product offering will be out by second quarter 1998. IBM’s director of internet media Willy Chiu emphasized that the patent-pending algorithm to track the links in video is a very thin metadata layer, a few kilobytes, he said. The beta is up at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com
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