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New CableLabs VOD spec promises improved search capabilities

Mon, 05/22/2006 - 7:32am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Shooting for much better search capabilities as the number of titles available on-demand continues to skyrocket, CableLabs Inc. has issued the 2.0 version of the video-on-demand metadata content specification. 

CableLabs said the new iteration improves upon the 1.1 spec, which cable operators have already deployed widely. The 2.0 version will help operators prepare to scale up on-demand content offerings for the expected elevation of customer usage of VOD, CableLabs added.

Cable's R&D house added that the new spec aims to reduce backend content transport and storage demands, while also increasing the amount of standardized metadata available for use in customer searches. The spec also will enable customers to search for scenes within a selected video and to give operators the tools necessary to improve on-screen navigation.

CableLabs cited several specific improvements invoked by the new spec. Among them, operators can reuse video content in different combinations, allowing content, for example, to be shown as a single feature or as part of a double feature without the need to re-encode content. The spec will also enable operators to swap current movie trailers without re-encoding.

"As usage and the amount of VOD content continue to grow, the industry's adoption of CableLabs' VOD Metadata Content 2.0 spec will benefit cable operators and consumers alike by helping to improve the overall VOD experience," said Mark Hess, Comcast Corp.'s SVP of business and product development-digital TV, in a statement.

The 2.0 metadata content spec is the first app to use the Asset Distribution Interface (ADI) 2.0 Platform Specifications, which is the product of a group of cable operators, hardware vendors and content providers. 

 "With the ADI 2.0 platform, other non-traditional VOD applications can now be developed as needs arise that can leverage this core specification," said CableLabs Project Director Dr. Yasser Syed, in a statement.

CableLabs developed the new spec under a royalty-free Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) pool.

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