Cable Operators

Imake: Making On-Demand Content Creation Easier

3/13/2005 7:00 PM Eastern

Imake Corp. unveiled a suite of content-creation software for video-on-demand content providers called OpenVision. The company, which already supplies Comcast Corp. and other broadband providers with VOD-asset-management tools, designed the OpenVision toolset so that content providers can digitally encode, manage and edit content and associated metadata in-house, rather than have third-party providers handle those duties.

“In the early days, we were a solutions/sale company,” said Steve Sweeney, senior vice president of business development at Imake. “Today we’re changing to a product/sales approach.”

The OpenVision product suite is designed for the increasing number of midsized and small VOD providers, companies that may be shipping 50 hours or less of VOD content each month. Content creation could cost $10,000 or more per month, said Imake product marketing manager John Dinsmore, an expense that many smaller basic cable programmers may find prohibitive. Those programmers also lose control of their content and metadata by outsourcing.

The Imake product suite is MPEG-2 (Moving Picture Experts Group) and Cable Television Laboratories Inc. compliant, both for the 1.0 and 1.1 specifications. It can handle both standard definition and HDTV MPEG-2 content, and provides for frame-accurate encoding as well as batch encoding. The software has been integrated with Harmonic and OptiBase encoders, but will support other encoders, Imake said. Fields on the PC screens also allow content providers to insert advertisements.

Dinsmore said OpenVision is priced competitively with other software products on the market.

In addition to programmers, Dinsmore said OpenVision could find a home among MSOs. Operators are increasingly interested in placing local sports content on VOD servers, along with other local content. He pointed to Comcast’s Dating on Demand as one example.

Operators have also discussed the eventual migration of local content for public, education and government channels to an on-demand platform, which also would necessitate local encoding and content-creation software among systems.

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