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Harmonic bows video 'mosaic' platform

Tue, 01/10/2006 - 6:26am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Harmonic Inc. has introduced a platform designed to help cable operators deploy video "mosaics," a TV navigation technique that employs multiple video thumbnails.

Harmonic's IP-based, MPEG-in/MPEG-out ProStream is designed to tile multiple channels within a single digital video stream and retain the associated metadata. The system is also designed to integrate with an operator's existing infrastructure, including middleware, applications, program guides, and compression and multiplexing systems.

DirecTV and EchoStar Communications already use video mosaics, but cable operators are expected to follow with their own versions. The Comcast Media Center presently is developing a "video-rich" mosaic-based navigation system with GuideWorks LLC, a joint venture of Comcast Corp. and Gemstar-TV Guide International.

"In addition to offering a more visual way to navigate through a seemingly ever increasing range of programs, the ProStream 8000 affords a compelling and convenient way to cross-promote services, such as VOD within the broadcast environment. And, while it is now possible to predefine the format and content of a mosaic, technology embedded within Harmonic's industry-leading digital video solutions will ultimately permit each viewer to create a customized channel mosaic," said Harmonic Director of Digital Video Solutions Gil Katz.

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