Video Technology Magazine March 2006               

KFC Video Secret
Submitted by Jesus Monroy:
On February 23, 2006 the AP (Associated Press) ( reported on a new TV campaign by KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). The commerical message, which started airing on the last weekend of the Olymipcs, contained a secret code that allowed the viewer to receive a free 99-cent Buffalo Snacker Chicken Sandwich. The catch is the to see the "secret code" a viewer must use a VCR or DVR to videotape, then playback the commercial frame by frame.

NPR's All Things Considered reports
( luke-warm excitement among the advertising media industry, with some labeling in "an interesting experiment". DVR users are notorious for skipping commercials, with up to 90% of fast food ads being fast-forwarded. None the less, as of this date KFC reports 70,000 sandwiches redemed. Ads will run through March the 3rd.

Low cost DVR boards now Available.
Video Technology is now selling the Kodicom KMC-4400R with the DigiNet software for Windows. There is also Linux and FreeBSD drivers for the board.
This is an excellent board for Machine Vision, Stereo Video, Time Lapse work, and of course CCTV Video Recording.

$200 each, quanity pricing is available.

For more info

Quake 3 on 24 Monitors
Virginia Tech's HCI lab has Quake 3 running with 24 Monitors, The resolution of the game is still 10240x3072 and runs on a 24-monitor Linux cluster. The system is driven by 12 linux servers (2 monitors per server) using Distributed Multihead X (DMX) and Chromium. Chromium distributes the OpenGL rendering from the head node to all of the servers.
Video Clip Here

For more info visit: Ultra High-Resolution Gaming Hub.

Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech - GigaPixel Project (similar to the NASA HyperWall)

Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMMS)
One of the things missing from the Linux Free Operating System world has been a solid music/sound editor. It would be great to have something on the level of Digidesign's (now Avid) Pro Tools.

Thw Linux Multimedia Studio is getting close.

There is a great article is currently being shown on called Linux Mutlimedia Studio (LMMS) aka "sal likes a bit of techno".

The LXer article explains how to get it installed and gives a quick tutorial on how to get started. There are plenty of cool features with LMMS that are sure to impress. You can use percussion, preloaded samples, and a variety of instruments. There is also a feature where one can load in user made samples.

The GUI is straight forward even if it seems overloaded to the casual user. All of the typical controls you can expect for a top of the line PC studio are available with LMMS.

According to LXer article by sal there are more features to come with LMMS which should make it a very strong PC home recording studio tool.

Other linux sound editors are Freebirth & Reborn.

Freebirth is a free software bass synthesizer / step sequencer / sample player similar to Propellerhead Rebirth.
From the LXer article " Freebirth is very primitive. Reborn was withdrawn after Propellerhead threatened the author with litigation. Reborn was an exact copy of the Rebirth UI so I do see their point. Last year Propellerhead announced that Rebirth was now free for anyone who wanted it, available from the "Rebirth Museum".

Media Mail

Click to enlarge
This was a sign on the counter in my local post office.
A little searching shows Domestic Mail Manual Section E713.1.1

Basically Media Mail allows you to send Media as a much lost cost, assuming you qualify.

The thing that really caught my attention was "Subject to Inspection"! What does this mean exactly, Am I reading this correctly, they they can open my mail that I'm sending and read, play or view the contents? Is this just to verify the shipping rate, or what? What if it's something personal or private?

George Lucas Predicts the END of Big Budget Movies
George Lucas told the New York Daily News that big-budget movies will soon be history. From the article: "'The market forces that exist today make it unrealistic to spend $200 million on a movie,' said Lucas, a near-billionaire from his feverishly franchised outer-space epics. 'Those movies can't make their money back anymore. Look at what happened with King Kong.'" Lucas' prediction: "In the future, almost everything that gets shown in theaters will be indie movies ... I predict that by 2025 the average movie will cost only $15 million."

New York Daily News Article

Cisco Aquires SyPixx
Cisco is getting into the video surveillance business. They are paying $51M to aquire Sypixx Networks, Inc. . Sypixx develops and manufacturers it's own technology in Fiber Optics and Video Networking. They have 10-Bit Digital and SNMP monitored Fiber Optic systems for video, data and ethernet. Interoperable MPEG-4 encoding and decoding are here integrated to recording and switching software platforms.

From the Forbes article,"Cisco made the acquisition to capitalize on the trend that has been underway which is moving video surveillance from analog to IP."

Cisco plans to integrate SyPixx's network video surveillance technology into new security applications that make live and recorded video available online.
Read More at : EWeek , Forbes .

Supercomputing and Video Walls using Linux PC Clusters

The University of Kentucky College of Engineering. KAOS and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has been developing video Wall computer clusters, Very similar to the NASA Hyperwall.

Compilers, Hardware Architectures, and Operating Systems. That's CHAOS. But since they are based in Kentucky they call them selves KAOS

Read more at KAOS lab

What the hell is this chip?
Thanks very much to Will White for answering this. it's a TOPRO - TP2804
8051 Microcontroller with 64K Flash and ISP.

Of course this make it's only a bigger mystery then since I don't see a DSP on that board???

Can someone tell me what this chip is and Who makes it? The maker looks like Topra or Topr4, but I can't find anything on google.

It's a Video DSP from a set top box, that will remain nameless, But it does H.264. It's probably from China or Taiwan.


Digital-Video PCI Cards
DTA-107 QPSK Modulator / L-Band Upconverter
DTA-110 QAM Modulator / UHF Upconverter
DTA-110T OFDM Modulator / UHF Upconverter
DTA-124 Quad ASI/SDI Input
DTA-140 DVB-ASI Input+Output

FantASI USB-2 Adapters
DTU-245 ASI/SDI Input+Output

DTC-300 StreamXpress TS Player
DTC-320 StreamXpert TS Analyser
DTC-350 VISUALmpeg PRO MP2V Analyser
DTC-360 VISUALmpeg AVC H.264 Analyser

3-D Filmmakers
Scarecrow press has a book out 3-D Filmmakers: Conversations with Creators of Stereoscopic Motion Pictures

Although numerous books about conventional filmmaking exist, none has solely addressed the challenges and production requirements of making stereoscopic motion pictures. Until now. Stereographer and film historian, Ray Zone, presents the insights of twenty-one professionals who have worked in this specialized field.

In this unique collection of interviews, Zone explores the art and craft of 3-D filmmaking with producers, screenwriters, directors, and cinematographers. The interviews range from a discussion with Arch Oboler - producer of Bwana Devil, the 1952 feature that triggered the "boom" of 3-D films - to producers and cinematographers who have worked with single-strip 3-D film production in the 1970s and '80s, 3-D films in theme parks, current IMAX films, and the new and still evolving format of digital 3-D cinema.

These interviews provide an unprecedented look at the unique challenges of producing stereoscopic motion pictures. Over five decades of this unique medium are covered, and will interest aspiring filmmakers, stereo photography enthusiasts, cinema buffs, devotees of popular culture, and film historians.

Ray Zone, web site

Misc Notes
Many Video capture cards capture NTSC at 640x480. Width x Height , but with NTSC there isn't a Standard Width since it's an analog standard. : I have seen widths range from 1560, 1024, 768, 720, 640, 560 and 320.

[18:04] mauro_chehab: tvtime accepts:
[18:04] mauro_chehab: 360
[18:05] mauro_chehab: 576
[18:05] mauro_chehab: 720
[18:05] mauro_chehab: 768
[18:05] mauro_chehab: 1024
[18:05] mauro_chehab: digital dvd format is 720x480

Downtown Dogs Minneapolis based Pet Daycare that has LIVE WEBCAMS.

Video-on-Demand and Linux A match made in Hollywood
Content is king in the world of VOD

Entertainment's recent evolution to the on-demand business model is a driving force in the development of applications featuring increasingly efficient scheduling and larger memory models. The latest kernel versions of Linux deliver the performance needed for serving up huge amounts of widely varying content to the tens of thousands of simultaneous VOD users in a typical deployment.

libmms - LibMMS aims to be common mms:// and mmsh:// (Microsoft streaming protocols) parsing library, licensed on LGPL, and thus usable by many projects that don't use GPL.

DVB Decoder - Ever wanted to investigate the inner workings of a Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) stream? This programme allows you to analyse the tables and packets within a DVB Transport Stream either from a recorded file or live (dependant on hardware).

360 Media Server - A upnp media server designed for streaming M4A,Ogg and other non supported formats to the Xbox 360. Currently has support for streaming M4A,Ogg and MP3.

Linux Infrared Remote Control - LIRC is a package that supports receiving and sending IR signals of the most common IR remote controls. It contains a daemon that decodes and sends IR signals, a mouse daemon that translates IR signals to mouse movements, and a couple of user programs.

I Hear U - IHU is a VoIP application for Linux (using Qt and Speex), with low latency, crypted stream, minimal use of bandwith, and without intermediary servers. It is the easiest way to talk real-time with your friends (like phone) on the internet or LAN.

ambulant - Ambulant is an extensible cross-platform multimedia playback engine in C++, aimed primarily at playback of SMIL documents.

F4L - F4L is an open source development environment for Macromedia Flash, a multi-platform format(swf/svg) widely used for web applications and vector animation. Basically, you can make interactive eye candy for your web site or any other purpose.

CED Self Proclaimed "The Premier Magazine of Broadband Technology"

Using libavformat and libavcodec


Past Articles
Return HOME

V4L2 sight coming online I am now starting a V4L, V4L2 site, archiving all documents and IRC logs of relivant IRC channels. This is in preperation for the New VIVI drivers we are finishing up.
ViVi is the VIrtual VIdeo Driver, that is a V4L2 linux video driver module intented to act as a real device driver but with no hardware. Right now it just play color bars with a Frame Counter and some TV snow in one corner.
ViVi is intended to be an example stub driver for the newer 2.6.14 and later Linux Kernels, that can be used to develope USB camera drivers, IP Camera Drivers or even a video preprocessing driver to perform image processing before sending it to mplayer, Xawtv, VLC or any V4L/V4L2 application.

Lush is an object-oriented programming language designed for researchers, experimenters, and engineers interested in large-scale numerical and graphic applications. Lush is designed to be used in situations where one would want to combine the flexibility of a high-level, weakly-typed interpreted language, with the efficiency of a strongly-typed, natively-compiled language, and with the easy integration of code written in C, C++, or other languages.

Lush supports Sound and video grabbing (using ALSA and Video4Linux). An interface to the Simple Directmedia Layer (SDL) multimedia library, A huge library of over 10,000 numerical routines, ibraries for computer vision (OpenCV, Intel's open source Vision Library), and 3D scene rendering (OpenInventor). Several libraries for machine learning, neural net, statistical estimation, Hidden Markov Models (gblearn2, Torch, HTK, SVM).

Lush Homepage

Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital backed YouTube of Palo Alto with a $5 million investment last year. Since then it's survived several "SlashDotings" unscathed. With video clips this is no small feat, I would love to see how much bandwidth they use.

Slashdot effect is when a site is disabled from the huge influx of web traffic that often results from sites being mentioned on

Youtube has also been acused of forming it's bussiness around Pirated Content by a number of people.
YouTube is not a real business

We'll it's finaly starting to get some respect.

YouTube Ties Up Wth MTV; First Formal Media Company Agreement 

MTV2, The Andy Milonakis Show

After some small rumblings from media companies like NBC and CBS (where they asked YouTube to take off unauthorized clips off the service), YouTube has struck its first formal partnership to obtain copyrighted content with MTV2, a division of MTV/Viacom.
MTV2 is seeding the site with multiminute clips from a pair of series promoting new seasons and DVD releases this month: "The Andy Milonakis Show" and "Wonder Showzen. MTV2 is listed atop the rankings of "today's featured videos" on the YouTube homepage along with a network logo identifying MTV2 as an "official partner."
YouTube has made some changes in its upload policy language, following concerns from media companies. In addition, the upload process is now embedded with a "premium content provider program" that offers to co-brand any "professional" material.
Staci adds: Especially interesting given that Viacom is one of the media companies that has been holding back on deals with sites that don't take down illegally uploaded material without an official complaint from the copyright holder. The new YouTube includes the warning language we suggested earlier this week but still relies on the company to complain.
It's a smart move from YouTube when it comes to the content providers; remains to be seen how the "official partner concept will go over in a user-gen environment. The clip from "The Andy Milonakis Show" pinned to the top of the video list had 63,000+ views as of this posting. My favorite viewer comment so far: "And so the answer to the question 'How the hell does youtube make money" is finally answered.'"
Update:A MTVN exec tells me that "formal agreement" is too strong a term, saying this is a marketing test MTV2 is trying with YouTube and other viral sites, including Viacom's iFilm; nothing official or contractural.
-- Networks Grapple With YouTube; CBS's Turn
-- NBC's C&D To YouTube For SNL Video Clips; YouTube Complies

Exploring YouTube

One thing they will all hit very quickly is the cost of bandwidth as explained in my paper Economics of Video and the Internet. April 2003.

Basically with things like Gnutilla and Bit Torrent the cost is pushed out to the clients ISP's and spread around. But these video blogs are not being served from some sort of CDN (Content Delivery Network, what I used to call Distributed Servers). They are either paying for bandwidth at some incredable expense to the company or have planned from day 1 to get so much traffic to be able to force all the major backbones to PEER with them and this would basically give them free Bandwidth. Peering is only an option for the very largest players where there is so much user Demand that is starts to cost a large ISP more money to not host your content or provide a free conntection to you then to not do that. This is the equavalent of a cable company charing small player to put of TV shows, but fot HBO the have to provide it or loose customers.

From a Dec 15, 05 press release: "YouTube already is serving more than 3 million videos, adding 8,000 video uploads and transferring 16 terabytes of data. " From Feb 14, 06 "is now receiving more than 20,000 uploads per day." and from About YouTube "With over 25 million videos served up daily " and "YouTube is currently serving over 45 terabytes of video per day"

YouYube blog entry where Mc Hammer visits, give tour of facility and people operating it.

A quick little hacking reveals

GET /get_video?video_id=qh2JiUU7T9w HTTP/1.1

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: close
Last-Modified: Tue, 07 Mar 2006 21:04:38 GMT
Content-Length: 2603883
ETag: 27bb6b-440df566
Content-Type: video/flv
Date: Tue, 07 Mar 2006 21:48:32 GMT
Server: lighttpd/1.4.8 just a basic web server, I expected that
Oh Jeeze, this just reminds me that I really need to release my Afterburner web server opensource already.

From Traceroute 
--- From anotehr ---
Peer 1 Network Inc. PEER1-BLK-08 -
ServerBeach PEER1-SERVERBEACH-04 -

Peer 1 Network Inc.

Peer 1 Network Raises Bar in Network Performance with Launch of New GLOBAL Load Balancing Product
VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 28, 2004--Peer 1 Network Enterprises, Inc. (TSX VENTURE:PIX), a leading provider of high-performance Internet bandwidth and server co-location facilities announced today the expansion of their product line to include GLOBAL (GLobal lOad BALancing).

Double Oh Jeeze. this is almost identical to what I was doing with my SDSN from 1995!!! Next-Generation Internet Network Technology - SDSN
Maybe I shouldnt' have looked...

nmap -O
Running: Linux 2.5.X
OS details: Linux Kernel 2.4.18 - 2.5.70 (X86)
Uptime 34.569 days (since Wed Feb 1 02:40:10 2006)

nmap -O
Running: Linux 2.4.X|2.5.X
OS details: Linux Kernel 2.4.0 - 2.5.20, Linux Kernel 2.4.18 - 2.5.70 (X86), Linux 2.4.19 w/grsecurity patch, Linux 2.4.20 - 2.4.21 w/ patch
Uptime 38.574 days (since Sat Jan 28 02:33:20 2006)

Video Blogs and Free Video Hosting
Altough YouTube is my Favorate so far and isn't really a video blog per say as much a video free for all, there are many others on the horizon.

vidiac "Use your web site to create you oen Internet TV Channel!"


Dave TV

Comcast VOD measurement and reporting
Comcast Cable is preparing to test a new video-on-demand (VOD) measurement and reporting service from TV ratings specialist Nielsen Entertainment.

Comcast said it will launch the trial sometime in Q1 2006. The MSO did not name any deployment markets, but it reportedly completed a three-month VOD viewership study with Nielsen in Philadelphia.

Nielsen said its On Demand platform will anonymously measure and report aggregate customer VOD usage data, information that will surely be of importance to advertisers that are considering whether to spend money on the new service.

The trial "will extend our commitment to providing accurate and timely reporting of aggregate On Demand usage," said Page Thompson, Comcast's SVP and GM of video products, in a statement.

Comcast, which offers about 3,800 titles on-demand, noted that it served up 1.4 billion VOD programs in 2005, more than double the total from 2004.

Comcast vs. YouTube VOD

To Put this into perepective, YouTube at 25M per day, will end up searving 9.1 Billion VOD stream compaired to Comcast's 1.4B.. But to be fair YouTubes streams are lower bandwidth and on average probably under 5 minute clips while comcast is playing 2 hour movies. So in Terrabytes Comcast would blow YouTube out of the water, But Comcast over is it's DOCSIS private cable network; a much more controlled environment the the public Internet. Camcast is also RTP streams, while YouTube is HTTP file transfers.

Open Source Flash Player
Gnash is a GNU Flash movie player. Till now it has been possible to play flash movies with proprietary software. While there are a few other free flash players, none supports anything higher than SWF v4 at best. Gnash is based on GameSWF, and supports many SWF v7 features.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced earlier this year the addition of Gnash, a new open source Flash movie player and Firefox plugin, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). "Open source" indicates that developers can build on top of earlier software to add features or tweak the old ones.

Until the forthcoming release of Gnash, all flash movies were only playable with Adobe Macromedia Flash player. While the Macromedia player is free, developers are restricted under copyright from modifying it. The Adobe flash player is supported on Intel X86 Linux but many platforms such as embedded processors are not supported.

FSF also says that while there are other free Flash (SWF format) players out there, none support newer than v4 versions. Gnash is based on GameSWF and supports many SWF v7 features.

Gnash runs as a standalone application, supports an XML-based message system as is documented in the Flash Format specification, and uses OpenGL for rendering the graphics.

The maintainer of Gnash Rob Savoye says that Gnash is playing more movies than any of the other free players, but needs more development support to improve its performance.

"All ActionScript classes exist and work, but not all the methods of each class are fully implemented," he said. "With a few more developers, it could be reasonably complete in a few months."

The FSF, who owns the copyright, is reviewing the GPL and has listed Gnash as a top-six priority project. Savoye maintains that he is a clean developer and has not reverse-engineered code from Adobe's free product, developing Gnash from SWF format or Flash documentation on the Internet.

The home page of the project is at The Gnash development sources are accessible via anonymous CVS from Savannah. Gnash development is being funded by PubSoft.

Other Similar Projects

Swfdec LGPL - Flash Rendering Library, Doesn't do ActionScript and is part of GStreamer.

GPLFlash is in the process of a ground-up rewrite.

GameSWF, a game-development library that includes Flash support. GameSWF supported ActionScript and had the most complete feature set, implementing a large portion of the Flash 7 specification.

Copyright © 2005, John L. Sokol
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