Cool and not-so-cool companies from Web Video Summit

by David Spark on June 27, 2007

The Web Video Summit conference kicked off today in San Jose. The last two sessions were a round up of some new video related Web companies. Here’s my take on the cool and not-so-cool companies. Om Malik and Liz Gannes of NewTeeVee moderated the first session, and my former boss from ZDTV/TechTV, Jim Louderback, moderated the second panel.

Magnify.netCool – Want to be the center of the video universe on a certain topic? This is the place to do it. You can create a category with a branded look on whatever interest you like, search for videos across multiple user generated video sites, add videos to your Magnify site, and then people who come to that site can look at the videos that you editorial approved. In addition, if they conduct searches across Magnify on your site, the searches will be contextual to your category. So the search engine will take into account that your search for “sex wax” on the Surfing video site has to do with the product and not some porn video. I saw this product first in March, 2007 at the VON conference in San Jose.

dotSUBCool – Repurposing video in foreign languages by offering close captioning translation. Can be embedded in any video player or you can use theirs. Done by paid translators and volunteers. Anyone can create a translation of any video. Doesn’t work for all languages. Arabic and Hebrew (“right to left” languages) are not rendered well in Flash. Rocketboom is using dotSUB.

VoddlerNot so cool – One of the VC judges loved this, but the presenter began the presentation exactly the way I hate. He tells me that he has less time to present than he expected, and then he spent too much time talking about the state of the industry (everyone in the room are industry people) instead of just explaining what the hell his product is. Tried to explain that they’re offering something revolutionary. It appears the product is trying to do what IPTV has already done and doing, which is full blown on-demand TV programming from the living room with no computer involved. His argument is that compared to cable, Voddler has global reach and a deeper archive of content plus can do it for a fraction of the bandwidth costs. But it appears his major issue is how does Voddler get on these boxes and in the homes. It’s a very tough battle in that he’s trying to compete with an ingrained industry, the cable industry. Although he says he can upload this client into an existing box in the living room. There’s a lot of vagaries here and it’s a major uphill claim.

Fora.tvCool – Site transcribes information spoken at public events. Search for content that was at events, and it will play that portion that was spoken. Plus they chapter programs (divide them up) and make each chapter linkable so you can forward only that portion of the event.

EveryzingCool – Formerly Podzinger. This is a video and podcast search engine in which they automatically transcribe the content. These guys spent $50 million over 5 years to develop the technology (from BBN Technologies out of MIT). I’ve been following this technology for quite some time and I’m very impressed. If you’re creating some audio or video media yourself, you should definitely put Everyzing on your site because they will automatically transcribe your files and you can put a search engine box on your site to search your own media files.

Ustream.tvCool – Live streaming video from a first person view. Competitor to and they were speaking positively of them. Spoke about these guys at the Web 2.0 conference. They were the first to offer live streaming. Now there are a bunch of other competitors including BlogTV.

VT3 SoftwareCool – Web-based video encoder that can transcode video in 119 formats in 1/3rd time. So one minute video can be encoded in 20 seconds. Plus you can encode from what already encoded format to another format. Low end version priced at $19.99.

VeotagCool – Tool you integrate into your video that allows yourself or your users to type text (tag) the video as you’re watching. With all that text and tagging, you can see where other information is in the video, plus you can jump to any point in the video by clicking on the text. Can embed the code into a website. Create metadata into any audio or video. You can embed it into any website. You have an HTML page of time-based tagged video. Cost is $1000/year to use this service. Very similar to another service called Click.TV (not operational now). Veotag is HTML based and Click.TV is Flash based. HTML is much easier for search engines to index. Mashable has a review of the two services.

2WireI guess cool – Dual room DVR and full blown Satellite-based IPTV product. They’re making this AT&T. Demonstrator flew through the interface, but it looks cool.

Wowza Media ServerI guess cool – I think my eyes are starting to glaze over. It’s just another media server. But he claims that he can handle a lot of concurrent HD Flash streams on a cheap box for a cheap price, so that’s pretty darn impressive.

RhozetCool – Universal media transcoding. Product is designed to work for an entire site that needs to covert huge batches of video that come in multiple different formats. And you can manage it over a number of different servers. Cost is $5000 per computer. It’s a dongle you can move from computer to computer. This is an industrial class product, unlike VT3 which is more for mom and pops. Also, the new version of Adobe Media Encoder does a lot of encoding in batch format as well.

PandoCool – Takes bittorrent protocol and allows you to move 1 GB for free. That’s what it’s known for. But now they’re trying to create an industry for distributing HD video. That’s the new Pando Publisher Service which can distribute HD content video over the Internet through RSS, streaming, or download. They claim 1 GB video to 1 million people for $5000.

Fix8Not so cool – Turn your moving head into an avatar. So instead of doing videoconferencing where you see real video of your actual head, instead you conference moving your head and an animated avatar is seen which moves in sync with your head moves. I saw Logitech doing this a year and a half ago at CES and I said, “Oh, that would be interesting for about 15 seconds.” The presenter keeps saying there’s a lot of entertainment value, but the entire audience was completely bored.

Sony XD Cam HDCool – $25,000 for a production HD camera. Presenter claimed it’s the least expensive camera allowed by the networks that want 100% HD video. This camera shoots 35 megabit video. Records onto $21 DVD discs for 1 hour and six minutes per disc.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mary hodder June 28, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Hi David,
Nice reviews and write up. Really appreciate it since I couldn’t attend.


Thomas June 28, 2007 at 3:41 pm

I disagree with your take on Fix8. I would change your Not so Cool, to Not Cool Yet.

I agree that the animated avatar will get boring fast in conversation with your friends.

But take a different approach – in the future imagine using this tool to create faces for scripted animation, to replace hand-keyframed animation.
I wrote up Fix8 here:
and I think this program has possibilities.

I would rate the application as Cotton Candy now, but with definite possibilities.

Evan June 28, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Great summary. Glad to see NYC-based Magnify get some well deserved credit.

Alex June 29, 2007 at 12:43 am

Wowza is COOL. I sat though this presentation and my take away was – now I can stream Flash at Windows Media prices and have better features… WOW. Try doing this with Adobe FMS. Oh yeah, it’ll cost you 80% more….

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