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Video-on-demand technology is at last ready to be sold to a mass audience, according to a cartel of companies which have announced an integrated package for delivery of multimedia services. Alcatel Telecom SA, Oracle Corp, Acorn Computers Ltd, Digital Equipment Corp and nCube Corp announced the system at the recent Asia Telecom event in Singapore, promising high-speed internet access, home shopping, and music, information and video-on-demand services via existing telephone lines. The core technology is Oracle’s Video Server, which delivers, stores and manages multimedia information on the server and feeds it out either to a Windows NT-based system or to a set top box. Acorn is providing the set-top box, which supports standard web browsing, MPEG-2 video decoding, and a network interface of either Ethernet 10BaseT or ATM Forum standard 25Mbps asynchronous transfer mode interface. Network access is enabled by Alcatel Telecom SA’s high speed over telephone copper-pair asynchronous digital subscriber line technology, which transfers at 8mbps download and 0.64Mbps upload. The Video Server software runs on either Digital Equipment Corp’s 64-bit AlphaServer running NT, or on hardware from Larry Ellison’s other company, nCube Corp, which manufactures the Videoserver massively parallel hardware for multimedia applications. Oracle says that the product proves video-on-demand is now ready for market, having been under development for four years. The companies claim the system is the only available ready-to-deploy interactive multimedia system for ADSL broadband access networks, and says it will be implementing the system in various Asian countries over the following months.


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CBR Staff Writer

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