It is heartening to see the increasing role online video has played and is continually playing in the Obama campaign and consequent administration. The President took questions from Youtube, arguably the biggest symbol of the evolving media democracy, and answered them.
What role is video playing in your communications strategy?]]>
The nominees for the “Best Picture” 2009:
2. The Blind Side
3. District 9
4. An Education
5. The Hurt Locker
6. Inglourious Basterds
7. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
8. A Serious Man
10. Up in the Air
India’s second largest circulated newspaper rolls out video on flagship property: Jagran.com
OFFICIAL WEB WIRE: http://bit.ly/marcellus-jagran
February 02, 2010 – Marcellus Inc. announced today its first major news property sign-up, with the addition of the Jagran Group to its customer base. The announcement follows the launch of video delivery on Jagran.com, powered by the Marcellus platform. Leveraging the Amazon Cloudfront CDN, Marcellus empowers Jagran to serve high quality, buffer-free video experiences to a massive global audience- with a publishing workflow customized to match the enterprise level requirements of a large news organization.
“The history of Jagran speaks for itself,” said Preetam Mukherjee, president and chief executive officer at Marcellus. “With an offline audience of over 50 million daily readers and an online audience of over 1.5 million monthly viewers, Jagran is superbly poised to create exciting new business opportunities with online video. We are privileged to be supporting these video initiatives at an organization that has documented the daily history of the largest democracy in the world since 1942.”
In less than two weeks since the introduction of video, Jagran has served well over 300 hours of programming from its flagship portal, http://www.jagran.com. By adopting the Marcellus Video Platform, Jagran plans to leverage the tremendous scale economics of video delivery from the Amazon Cloudfront CDN, and increase the level of audience engagement across all its online media properties.
“In our search for a video platform, there were a few things we simply could not compromise upon.” said Sukirti Gupta, CEO at MMI Online, which manages Jagran.com. “The first, and foremost, was quality- there is no excuse for delivering inferior quality video experiences to audiences. Second was cost- we needed an economical solution that could help us build a viable business model around our online video initiatives. Third- we needed a platform that could easily integrate with our content management system powered by Yahoo. Finally- we wanted to work with an agile team that is extremely competent with the business and technology of online video”.
“After months of evaluating online video platforms from across the world, we settled on Marcellus as the platform of our choice. They’re an exciting bunch, extremely passionate about this space, with the ability to execute fast. Once we signed off with them, Marcellus took us from zero to launch in three weeks, which was a pleasant surprise in of itself. We are absolutely delighted with our choice and look forward to pioneering the online video revolution in India with the Marcellus team backing us up.”
With the successful launch of Jagran.com, Marcellus continues its pledge to help businesses and web sites across the world deliver high quality video to their audiences, at extremely affordable price points. The company plans to drive deeper into the North American market in 2010, and extend its footprint among small and mid-sized businesses looking to deliver online video- a market where simplicity, quality and cost continue to be an under-served combination.
EDITIONS AND PRICING
The Marcellus service is available in three Editions- BASIC, PLUS and PREMIUM. Each edition offers a set of functionality geared towards organizations with varying needs. In addition, Marcellus offers five Infrastructure plans, from 10 GB to 1.5 TB in monthly bandwidth capacity. Enterprise customers requiring larger bandwidth volumes are set up with custom infrastructure plans tailored to their needs. Using a combination of the BASIC edition and 10 GB bandwidth plan, publishers can get started with Marcellus for as low as 25 Dollars per month.
For a free, 30-day evaluation, please visit http://marcellus.tv/start and start publishing videos in less than five minutes.
Marcellus is a video platform for small and mid-sized businesses to deliver high quality video experiences from their own web sites. The Marcellus team comprises of former researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, and has over a decade of experience with online video technology and social media.
The company was founded in August, 2007 and has offices in North America and India.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Apple finally unveiled its most hyped, awaited product yet – iPad (btw – iTampon was a tweeting trend today).
Mashable – “[iPad] is designed to fill the perceived gap between the smartphone and the laptop.”
Crunchgear – “It’s a big iPod.”
Readwriteweb – “We expect to see a similar trajectory for the iPad in the enterprise as the iPhone has had in recent months.”
New York Times – “One question Apple faces is whether there is enough room for another device in the cluttered lives of consumers.”
Engadget – “There’s no multitasking at all. It’s a real disappointment.”
Gizmodo – “No Flash is annoying but not a dealbreaker on the iPhone and iPod Touch.”
Wall Street Journal – “People familiar with Apple’s thinking said that the company is still sifting through technology features that it has in the works to decide whether any of them might be ready before March to include in the first device.”]]>
Being number 2 isn’t too bad a thing – if you’re number 1 also. James Cameron’s Avatar has become the second highest grossing movie (domestic) behind James Cameron’s Titanic. Congratulations for the number 2 spot and for the Golden Globe win.]]>
Bora Bora is an island in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The island, located about 230 kilometres (140 mi) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 727 metres (2,385 ft). The original name of the island in the Tahitian language might be better rendered as Pora Pora, meaning “First Born”; an early transcription found in 18th- and 19th century accounts, is Bolabolla or Bollabolla.]]>
Greece attracts more than 16 million tourists each year, thus contributing 15% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product Economy. Greece has been an attraction for international visitors since antiquity for its rich and long history and more recently for its Mediterranean coastline and beaches. In 2005, 6,088,287 tourists visited only the city of Athens, the capital city.*
* Wikipedia: Tourism in Greece]]>
The following is an article written by Wes Simpson for DV.com. The original posting can be found here. So thank you Wes and DV for this very relevant posting from the readers of the Marcellus Blog:
Flash video is a technology that is widely used on Web sites throughout the Internet for delivering video (and other) signals to a wide variety of different devices.
Flash video files and live streams can be displayed on handheld devices (such as the new Droid from Verizon Wireless), all types of laptops, netbooks and desktop PCs as well as a growing number of televisions that have Ethernet ports for displaying content from sites such as YouTube. Originally created by a company called Macromedia, Flash is now a product of Adobe Corp.
WHY USE FLASH?
Flash’s big advantage is the widespread distribution of the software required to play Flash content on a variety of devices throughout the online world. Adobe claims on their Web site that 98 percent of Internet-enabled desktops worldwide have the Flash player installed, and so do hundreds of millions of other devices.
Having the support of the dominant online video providers is obviously a big plus for market penetration, but Flash has a number of technical benefits as well.
Flash is particularly strong in Web sites that combine both vector animation and bit-mapped raster graphics. Vector graphics require much less data compared to sending frame after frame of data describing the changes to hundreds of pixels, even using advanced compression technologies.
Flash also supports H.264 compression, which is used around the world for video recording and delivery. Ideally, this would allow video that was already compressed using H.264 to be directly imported and streamed without much manipulation, or for video to be exported easily to other players.
Unfortunately, Flash’s advanced stream management techniques, coupled with the variable bit-rate control methods used, make this impractical. Instead, videos normally require transcoding before they can be streamed using Flash, and similar manipulations are needed to export Flash files for playback in other formats. This is a double-edged sword — Flash can deliver high-quality images to users on many different platforms, but it has the drawback of requiring unique file structures.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Flash video is delivered to clients by way of a Flash server, either from a pre-recorded file or as a live stream. In either case, the process is quite similar.
It begins when a user decides to view Flash content. The user can request the content through a Web page hosted by the Flash server, or, much more commonly, the request is made through another Web page that redirects the user’s request for content to the Flash server.
In either case, the user’s device (client) sends two messages to the server to initiate the client-server handshake. Adobe recently published the protocol used in this process, called RTMP (for Real Time Messaging Protocol). Once this handshake is complete, the resulting connection is used to deliver video, audio and other content.
Decoding and displaying the content on the user’s device is performed by Adobe Flash Player software that must be installed on the user’s device before display or playback can begin. This software is typically configured as a plug-in to a Web browser, which means that the browser is responsible for activating the player software and for facilitating the flow of data between the server and the player.
One major benefit of plug-ins is that they can be updated without requiring any changes to the browser software, allowing for rapid innovation. In addition, a plug-in can contain proprietary code or tools for handling encrypted content that do not need to be incorporated into the browser.
Flash plug-ins also support the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVSM), a software construct that implements a set of common, well-defined behaviors, enabling developers to write a single application that can run on a variety of different platforms, such as Microsoft, Apple and Linux.
Scripts can contain a number of actions for many different types of behavior, such as user interaction, stream management, Web site access and other functions. The ASVM gives Flash a lot of power that can be harnessed by developers to create rich multimedia experiences and even to create games that are written entirely in ActionScript.
CREATING THE VIDEO
Creating a Flash video can be deceptively simple — many Web sites will accept video files in any of a number of different source formats and create a Web page containing that video in a matter of minutes. Similarly, self-contained, portable Webcasting appliances can be used to convert live video signals directly into streams. However, several steps must occur to produce the final product — either a live stream or a file that can be hosted on a server and streamed on demand.
The first step in the process is acquisition, where the source video signal is brought into the appliance for processing. When the signal is a composite/component/SDI video source originating from a camera, tape machine or similar device, this process is known as capture, wherein the video signal is fed into a specially designed interface board that converts the signal into a form suitable for further processing within the appliance.
In the case of video content that is already in a file, the process begins by copying the video clip or file into the appliance, which is often called file capture or upload.
The next step in the process is compression. This needs to be done using one of the compression formats support by Flash technology, such as those provided by Sorenson, On2 or the standard H.264 format (available since the launch of Version 9 of Adobe Flash). Scaling is often also done during this step, whereby the size of the original video frame is adjusted to fit the size of the destination video device, either through stretching or squeezing the video image (normally) or through cropping (rarely).
The final step in the process is to apply a “wrapper” to the video content that helps the playback device understand how the video and related audio or other content is to be interpreted. This wrapper contains information (metadata) about the video image format; lists the compression codecs used to create the data; and describes any other signals such as audio or text that will form part of the output of the viewer. Wrappers, which are also called “containers,” provide a common format for communicating the relevant information about the stream, thereby enabling the playback device to quickly and easily determine how the bits within the stream are to be decoded and displayed.
DELIVERING THE VIDEO
Two methods are frequently used for delivering Flash video to viewers: real-time streaming and on-demand streaming. With real-time streaming a video signal is delivered to one or more viewers from a single source, which can be live or pre-recorded video. This technique is often used for broadcasting live news on Web sites such as CNN.com, and the viewer “tunes-in” to the ongoing program while it is playing.
In contrast, with on-demand streaming, each viewer receives a stream that is custom-delivered to his or her viewing device, on a time schedule that is controlled by the viewer, who can pause, rewind and fast-forward the video. YouTube and many other sites use this technique. Two different, but related, technologies are used to support these two delivery methods.
In real-time streaming, the big challenge is to make a copy of the source stream for each of the viewers who is currently watching. Because the public Internet and many private networks are not multicast-enabled, each viewer’s device must receive a unique sequence of data packets addressed specifically to the user’s device IP address.
To accomplish this task, a “reflecting server” is used to take a single incoming stream and generate multiple output streams.
As shown in Figure 1 (above), video is fed from a source to a Webcasting device, which captures the video, compresses it, and places it into the Flash stream wrapper and format. The reflecting server then replicates this stream for each client device.
In parallel, a portal Web site is often set up that serves as a landing page for user devices to get information about available streams. Clients that navigate to this page are redirected to the reflecting server to actually receive the stream.
The process for on-demand streaming is shown in Figure 2 (above). First, the video content must be created and uploaded to a Flash server. Inside the Flash server, content files are transcoded as necessary into the final Flash streaming format and stored. In parallel, the author of the content will often create a Web page that contains an ActionScript that tells viewers about the available content and give them controls to begin video playback.
These Web pages will redirect the client devices to the Flash server to actually receive the streams. Typically, these Web pages will display a thumbnail that is a single frame selected from the video to illustrate the contents.
A large ecosystem of software and systems has grown up to serve the Flash video market. One of the easiest ways to begin real-time streaming is to rent or purchase Webcasting equipment that is available from a number of suppliers. These self-contained units have video and audio inputs and Ethernet outputs that deliver one or more fully compliant Flash streams. Also, the services of a reflecting server can be purchased or rented as needed to replicate the stream to many viewers. Companies using this approach can get on the air quickly without a huge expenditure of time or money for purchasing systems and training. So what are you waiting for?
Again – thank you Wes and DV.com
Happy 2010 everyone!
We launched a new design for the Marcellus Video Platform last night.
For the most part, we’ve made things a little cleaner, added more definition to containers, introduced consistency where it was lacking, and added a touch of soft aesthetics wherever possible.
You’ll see the changes as soon as you log-in to your account, but we’ve included a few screenshots below anyway.
Silverlight aficionados will tell you that comparing Silverlight and Flash makes as much sense as a comparison between a Moto Razr and the iPhone. They will tell you that Silverlight was created for a far bigger purpose; to light up the web (to use Microsoft’s marketing lingo) in the same way as Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly Avalon – I just love Microsoft’s system of nomenclature. Which genius thought of Vista though?) was to light up the Windows Platform. Maybe they are right – Silverlight might have a more audacious goal (which Microsoft product doesn’t?), but with Microsoft trying to eat up some of the ubiquitous Flash market a comparison is valid.
Before we begin to start comparing them as media clients, let us examine them as application platforms from the perspective of the one trying to play ketchup, i.e. Silverlight:
Silverlight stepped out of the browser with Silverlight 3 and brought with it the same sandbox environment as it had within the broswer. Unlike Adobe Air applications (Flash’s flavor for desktop applications), Silverlight apps do not require elevated privileges to run, which makes for a more secure environment. But then, with elevated privileges Air apps can do so much more.
Offline Browser Support
Speaking of more, Adobe Air has better offline browser support with an included webkit; whereas, with Silverlight if the app requires HTML or a script running within the browser, then too bad – you can’t do it. Air also has local database support with embedded SQLite, Silverlight does not.
Remote Data Access
Silverlight 3 does address remote data access shortcomings; Ajax apps (and Silverlight apps) will be able to to retrieve remote-data which will come down in the default JSON format.
Silverlight 3 is also looking to be more SEO friendly by permitting deep linking URLs to point to places within the application. To make things even more exciting for search engine crawlers, an ASP add on mirrors dynamic content into HTML for easy indexing.
Things become easier in the 3rd dimension with Silverlight, where you can apply a 3 D effect to any media object with a 3 D API.
Oh and here’s the closer: multi-touch support is available with Silverlight 3… but only on Windows 7 (did I mention this was a Microsoft product?!)
To summarize: Microsoft seems to have done a great job with Silverlight 3 and promises much more with Silverlight 4. But how can it convince developers to ignore the ubiquity of Flash (installed on 95% of web browsers) remains the big challenge for Microsoft.]]>