Akamai Bringing True HD Capability to Internet

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Akamai Technologies, Inc. has announced that they have developed the technologies for a consistent, high-definition TV delivery over the Internet. Their system will deliver 1080i and 1080p using VC-1 and MPEG-4 video standards.

"As broadband connectivity becomes more ubiquitous, users are demanding ? and frankly should expect ? a high-quality, high-definition video experience on the Internet," said Mike Afergan, the Chief Technology Officer at Akamai. "Delivering premium HD content is a critical way for our customers to attract and delight their audiences in todayis highly competitive media environment.

Akamai said that they will continue to lead this effort with new service launches, device integration, and partnerships with technology vendors, expected in the coming months.

The Akamai architecture is is designed to comply with the following technical criteria: Support for files larger than 2 GB, VC-1 qnd MPEG-4 video, and support for resolutions of 720p, 1080i, and 1080p.

Akamai explained that one of the keys to delivering HD video at a consistent rate of 10 to 20 Mbps is the network latency, and that it should be less than 20 milliseconds [from server to client]. Akamai has severs distributed in over 750 cities and has developed technologies to maintain these latency levels. Also, techniques will be used to cache only the video most requested by viewers.

"Akamaiis goal is to be able to support 100 terabits per second of traffic. Our flexible and distributed architecture uniquely positions us to realize that vision and we are aggressively progressing toward that goal," Mr. Afergan said.

Delivering high definition video to customers on the Internet has been a major challenge in the industry. Some companies, like ABC, have developed custom softare and players to deliver a near-HD experience. Others have been forced to resort to extreme compression methods that cannot compete with cable and satellite offerings.

Appleis customers have been aware of these limitations for some time because Appleis iTunes store only delivers movies and TV shows in SD format. Akamaiis announcement could pave the way for a better HD delivery system on the Internet for everyone down the road.

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