SeaChange Puts DVD in VOD


Another direction for the video-on-demand world may be at the starting gate
with SeaChange International Inc.'s introduction Tuesday morning of software
that allows DVD content to run on-demand through a digital set-top box.

Developed through the company's Digital Video Arts subsidiary, the software
application facilitates delivery of DVD programming -- independent of a DVD
player -- through a digital set-top.

The content can be handled through, and is compatible with, different
video-server models, whether from SeaChange or other vendors, as well as with
both current- and advanced-generation set-top boxes, operating systems and
middleware, DVA president George Breen said.

The software will be available for VOD deployment in January.

Breen and some of his SeaChange executive colleagues are demonstrating the
capability -- part of a software suite called 'VODlink' -- in New York the next
few days.

He will go public with that demo Wednesday morning at a Kagan VOD Summit
panel. Executives from Scientific-Atlanta Inc., Motorola Inc. and Sony Corp., as
well as VOD-server competitors nCUBE, Concurrent Computer Corp. and Broadbus
Technologies Inc., are expected to participate on that panel.

'In essence, the set-top becomes the DVD player,' Breen said at a VODlink
screening arranged and presented prior to Tuesday's announcement. 'This is going
to make a major contribution to an everything-on-demand world.'

Movie and TV studios, cable operators and independent content providers are
being briefed about the DVD-over-cable technology. So far, response from the
movie studios is cautious, Breen acknowledged, but reaction from other quarters
is promising.

He sees the studios using VODlink for release of older films with special
features at first, then taking on current titles. Other parties will explore
VODlink for independent film/video, educational, local content and advertising

SeaChange is organizing a VODlink 'programmers association' of cable
networks, content/application suppliers and third-party firms to develop
on-demand DVD programming. Workshops, software-tool distribution and clinics
would fall under the association's purview. Charter members and activities will
be unveiled at the Western Show, officials noted.

However, SeaChange will not engage in DVD-programming development, either by
itself or through the association.