First HDTV signals sent across the Web


Manhasset, N.Y. - InternetWeek has announced the first ever high-definition television (HDTV) broadcast over the Internet, marking the first time HDTV images have been sent over an IP network to a location thousands of miles away.

The multicast data stream, which featured crisp underwater video images, was sent from the Advanced Network Computing Lab at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Campus to the Unversity of Washington, using software and hardware from 2NetFX.

The test was conducted as a part of the InternetWeek Lab Test on Enterprise Infrastructure. The test facility boasts a 100-Mbps connection to a T3 line, which, in turn, is connected to Internet2 (a high-speed Internet backbone connecting U.S. universities). The University of Washington also has a Internet2 connection. The HDTV-over-IP signal required 22 Mbps of bandwidth.

Significant factors of the pioneering transmission include the remarkable clarity of the video and the use of multicast, the protocol that allows many viewers to request a program without adding to the burden on the server or the server's network. Multicast allows virtually any number of viewers to watch the program while requiring only the original amount of bandwidth, making meetings, conferences and symposia via the Web possible in the most technologically-demanding areas.

"Traditionally corporate Internet connections have not been configured to be able to handle multicast data from the public Internet due to misconceptions about the technology," said Brian Chee of the University of Hawaii's ICS Department. "This demonstration shows that 'normal' data and high bandwidth video can coexist peacefully even on a public Internet."

"The transmission demonstrates the future of content delivery over the Internet," said Wayne Rash, editor of events at InternetWeek, who coordinated the HDTV effort. "Each year, we see more information reach our customers' desktops. The ability to deliver such images over an enterprise network-and eventually the Net-means that vastly more information can be delivered in a way customers can use it. "

"The video program was used to demonstrate the capabilities of high- capacity network routers in the InternetWeek Lab Test," said Curt Franklin, managing editor of technology at InternetWeek. "The fact that it could be seen for the first time across some 3,000 miles of trans-oceanic cable brings the Internet a step closer to converting hype into the promise of reality."

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