Fast video could turn out to be one of the hottest developments on the Internet this Christmas. VDOnet Corp has launched VDOlive – a technology that the Santa Clara, California-based company claims can transmit sound and full motion video at 28Kbps (CI No 2,782). VDOnet demonstrated the technology at Mecklermedia Corp’s Internet World Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, and promised to conquer the technical challenges presented by the low bandwidth and complex communications environment of the Internet that have hampered previous attempts. The beta software is given the Internet address of a VDOfile and then receives video and audio in real-time. The company intends to extend the software to operate two-way for corporate networks but Asaf Mohr, president and founder of the company, was keen to distinguish VDOlive from the popular personal conferencing software, CU-SeeMe: an interesting demonstration of a sequence of still images but inflexible and lacking sound, he said. The player software (downloadable free from the VDOlive site, www.vdolive.com) is claimed to deliver up to 15 frames per second via a standard 28.8Kbps modem, although the limited available bandwidth of the Internet means that you will be lucky to get two frames per second and any more than 80% of the audio feed. Mohr said he expected popular acceptance of video on the Internet – similar to that of audio that grew in 1995 – to be less than a year away. The predominant use of Internet video will initially be to enable companies to deliver adverts or movie trailers from their sites, he said, ultimately offering a cheap international medium for individuals to show their own movies across the Internet. Thousands of people want to be broadcasters. With VDOlive, they can do it, he said. He expects it to spawn a whole series of desktop video broadcasting applications. VDOlive is based on two core technologies: a scaleable compression algorithm that drastically compresses video to send it over the small bandwidth portions of the Internet, enabling the video quality to increase with the size and quality of the connection at the other end; and a communications protocol that is designed to maintain the integrity of the video stream as it moves through the Internet.