Sunday, June 4, 2006

Digital Fountain Debuts "ToughStream" Forward Error Correction for IPTV

Digital Fountain introduced its "ToughStream" Forward Error Correction (FEC) technology for streaming applications including IPTV and Internet TV. The technology minimizes bandwidth overhead and all-but eliminates buffering delays by recovering lost packets without requiring retransmission. Any packetized stream can be protected, independent of the type of media encoding or compression, data rate, or use of encryption.

Alternative methods for ensuring stream quality are buffering data ahead of time, which causes frustrating delays and limits the user's ability to sample numerous streams or "channel surf", and Pro-MPEG FEC, which Digital Fountain said is far less efficient.

Digital Fountain said its ToughStream provides application and equipment vendors with the easiest way to incorporate FEC technology into streaming applications. The company plans follow a licensing model similar to what Dolby developed with its audio technology.

With ToughStream, developers are presented with a simple network socket architecture. ToughStream handles all of the complexities of FEC processing and data transport. The sending application simply writes streaming packets to the socket and the receiving application simply reads streaming packets from the socket. Numerous parameters are run-time configurable, allowing for simple tuning of the optimal mix of loss protection, bandwidth usage, processing resources and quality.

Currently in broad commercial use for IPTV services offered in Japan, the DF Raptor FEC technology is incorporated in Sumitomo Electric Networks' StreamCruiser IP set-top boxes -- which are used by subscribers of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corporation Communications' OCN Theater video-on-demand services and others.

  • Digital Fountain's patented DF Raptor technology has been made part of the global standard to support content delivery services over DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld) wireless networks.

  • The adoption of DF Raptor technology for DVB-H follows its standardization in 2005 as part of the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service) specification for GSM-based 3G cellular networks. Because the DF Raptor FEC provides exceptional packet loss protection but can be readily supported by general-purpose processors, the technology is ideally suited for the delivery of multimedia content to mobile wireless devices.

  • Modeo, which is building a dedicated multi-channel DVB-H network in the top 30 U.S. markets, has licensed Digital Fountain's "DF Raptor" forward error correction (FEC) technology. Modeo plans to incorporate the technology in its DVB-H broadcast network file delivery service.

  • Digital Fountain's DF Raptor technology is an advanced and highly flexible FEC that enables the efficient and error-free download of multimedia data files in the presence of a wide range of network impairments. The technology has been standardized by DVB as part of IP datacasting services over DVB-H and by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) as a component of the Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS) for GSM-based 3G cellular networks.

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