Stellar Startups: Helping you download Youtube clips

Tired of waiting for video to buffer?

By DAVID SHAMAH
March 14, 2011 21:59
4 minute read.
DAVID RAD, founder and CEO of Cast Time

David Rad 311. (photo credit: courtesy)

How many times has this happened to you? You get an appetizing-looking link in your e-mail and click on it, and it leads you to Youtube. You salivate in expectation (Man, is this gonna be funny!), you click on the arrow, and the video begins to load...

and load... and load some more. The little clock (on Windows systems; Mac users are treated to a revolving “rainbow ball”) keeps turning, indicating that something is happening – very slowly.

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At this point, you’re about to give up. But wait! Yes, there it is – after long minutes of loading, the video begins. Finally! But just as you’re beginning to relax – wham! You get hit with another long wait, with more clocks and rainbow circles. That’s it – the last time you click on a Youtube link. You’ve got half a mind to write the Youtube people and demand the last five minutes of your life back! There’s gotta me a better way, and thanks to Israel’s Cast Time, there is.

“We specialize in adaptive video, which ensures that your computer can successfully handle the video you’re trying to watch, so you never have to wait for video to buffer,” says David Rad, founder and CEO of Cast Time. “You can view video properly, according to the capacity of your computer, even at high density.”

Buffering is the reason for those clocks and rainbows.

Ostensibly, it’s a good thing for you; by delaying the video from loading immediately, Youtube and other video sites hope to ensure as smooth a viewing experience as possible.

Most people are willing to put up with some buffering – one time – at the beginning of the show, if your network is working properly and your computer is in good shape (requisite memory, no major processing in the background, etc.). But if the network has got some bumps, or your computer’s memory is busy doing something else, you might experience a further bout of buffering.

At that point you probably give up. In fact, for most people, Rad says, that point comes much sooner.

“People don’t like to wait more than three seconds, and that’s especially bad news for marketers who use video,” he says. “Our system makes sure that they can reach their customers efficiently, with no interference.”

To that end, Cast Time has developed the world’s first “adaptive streaming” system for video streaming, virtually eliminating video buffering altogether.

“Videos are streamed over the Internet at a single speed, and the video sites rely on the user’s computer to buffer the video,” Rad says. “Many professional videos are ‘broadcast’ at highquality bitrates, even high definition.

Our system regulates the quality of video when it is received by the user, adapting the quality to the system on which the video is being watched.”

Since there is no “quality gap,” with the video’s streaming quality commensurate with the quality of the computer on which it is being viewed, there is no need to buffer, and the video comes straight through, without delay.

The system, called Adaptius, is built on agents and algorithms developed by Cast Time, based on Microsoft Silverlight (an application framework for running rich Internet applications, similar to Adobe Flash).

Microsoft liked the idea so much that it uses it on its Silverlight home page (microsoft.com/silverlight), where you’ll notice that the videos load quite quickly.

“Our system fits the video with the computer’s capabilities like a glove, minimizing the wait time time to load a video,” Rad says.

Adaptius is already in use on at least one large Israeli Web portal, and talks are under way with several large global Web portals, he says. And because it’s adaptive and Web-based, there are versions of Adaptius for all computer systems, as well as for mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.). The system even works for 3-D Internet streams (you can see an example at casttime.com/Demos).

“No one else anywhere is doing anything like this,” Rad says, putting the company in an excellent position as the video revolution, which will see more and more content accessed over by viewers over the Web, gains steam.

Cast Time has actually been working in the video space for several years, and it has been developing and marketing its innovations for more than six years. The company actually has several other products, including one that precludes the need for satellite feeds, broadcasting high-quality video over the Internet for rebroadcast by television networks.

The company recently signed a deal with Germany’s ARD network to do just that. Using the same basic technology employed in the Adaptius product, Cast Time guarantees smooth transmission of video for the network, in full high density, saving the network as much as 70 percent in its outlay for such broadcasts and expanding the usually limited “window” broadcasters have when they rent satellite time.

Cast Time even offers more video solutions, including for smooth transmission of video on demand and for live broadcasts.

As the Internet turns more video-intensive, Internet broadcasters, marketers and advertisers are all looking for an easy-toimplement system that will ensure that viewers get the message – in that three-second window of opportunity Rad mentioned.

Thanks to Cast Time – the only company offering a comprehensive solution to ending the pain of the clocks and rainbows – the heartache of incessant buffering will soon be a thing of the past.

digitalisrael.net


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