LOS ANGELES -A system designed to deliver video content to home personal video recorders during times of low broadband usage was the subject of a private showing for operators at the Western Show.
Backers of EnjoyWeb Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., hope cable operators will see the technology as a way to deliver niche programming or new networks like Oxygen to consumers on a pay-per-view basis, via the Internet.
The venture has the financial backing of Funai Electric Co. Ltd. The EnjoyWeb software will be included in Funai's "Web Accelerator," an Internet device that can be used for detailed system tests, field trials and pilot deployment.
Also, Toshiba America Consumer Products announced that its new digital platform will incorporate EnjoyWeb software to enable managed media-over-IP features.
EnjoyWeb founder, chairman and CEO Yangbin Wang said he's soliciting operator interest even before pursuing content providers or traditional set-top makers.
"In our view, our technology is ready. They have the broadband pipe," he said. Content licensees and other hardware partners will come after cable partners are signed, Wang added.
Other company principals include president and COO Morton Fink, a veteran of Warner Bros., Sony Corp. and CBS; and senior vice president Lawrence Meli, a cable-network veteran who most recently was an executive for the yet-to-launch National Geographic Channel, as well as longtime cable engineers.
EnjoyWeb has held initial talks with some operators-and has even conducted small-market trials-but Wang would not disclose any identities, citing confidentiality agreements. Product backers envision MSOs using EnjoyWeb to offer new satellite programming for which there may be local demand yet no channel slots available.
Small operators have also expressed interest, for the software could expand PPV without investment in costly video servers, Wang said.
EnjoyWeb will handle licensing for the service. Content would be delivered from its archive to an EnjoyWeb data server or remote node via the Internet. Programming for the next day would then be downloaded to a consumer's personal video recorder during non-peak usage times as full-motion, full-screen video over standard broadband connections.
Movies could be delivered for use for a single or multiple showing, or for a set period, such as 24 hours.
Content can be delivered either to TVs or personal computers. The EnjoyWeb servers would link to legacy billing systems to track PPV usage.