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November 2, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

The most obvious use of a video server is to provide video on demand to the home entertainment market. However, Whittaker Corp of Simi Valley California, reckons that video mail could be an important application. The company is testing a service with Pacific Bell Inc to mail each other video footage over the telecommunications company’s Asychronous Transfer Mode network. Whittaker has implemented a conventional electronic mail store-and-forward architecture, with footage being stored on a back-end database server until the recipient logs in to collect it. The client software works with Whittaker’s Asynchronous Mode server to present a full virtual video cassette recorder, enabling users to fast forward, reverse, go to frame, pause and freeze frame. The server supports 96 full-duplex Asynchronous Mode data streams that provide connections to tape, optical storage and RAID systems. The company claims a sustained throughput of 200Mbps. It can run a choice of databases, including Oracle or Sybase. The amount of storage required is substantial: digital video-editing requires storage in the Terabytes range. The technology test, which ended last month, is part of the Pacific Bell Media Park MultiMedia development and trial programme, launched in 1994. Whittaker and Pacific Bell have collaborated to develop the real-time server, associated software and digital memory interfaces. The company expects the first commercial installations early next year and is targeting the entertainment industry, hoping that filmmakers will use it for production and post-production tasks on line and for collaborating with team members. They are also looking to health care imaging, the educational and government sectors, with the box holding recorded lectures, video presentations, databases and virtual libraries. No indications of the costs were given.

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