February 18, 2005 Today at 3GSM World Congress 2005, ComVu announced the availability of the world's first service that enables users to stream live video from a smartphone to a global audience. ComVu also announced a licensing agreement with Fifth Media to provide ComVu's PocketCaster software for the new AXIA A108 PDA phones. PocketCaster leverages AXIA's onboard 1.3 megapixel CMOS camera, and next generation Freescale i.MX21 processor, to transmit real-time MPEG 4 video to ComVu's automated streaming server network. ComVu's PocketCaster turns the smartphone into a live broadcast device, rather than solely a passive receiver of video content. ComVu's deployment of a simple, "one-to-many" live broadcasting service will create numerous new commercial opportunities for users. A typical user may be a blogger who wants to add live video to online reporting; or a mobile field technician in an urgent situation where text alone doesn't get across all that needs to be communicated.
"We like to call it 'CNN in your pocket' as a metaphor of what is to come, " says William Mutual, ComVu Chairman. "And thanks to the enhanced processing power, small size and video-friendly features of the new AXIA A108 PDA phone-when combined with ComVu's automated and affordable networking services-we can truly say that live television broadcasting is now in the hands of everyone."
"Fifth Media is committed to delivering next generation mobile devices with the AXIA, and through partnering with innovative developers like ComVu, AXIA users can take full advantage of the latest in mobile technology," says Kialee Phua, Fifth Media Chief Executive. "This partnership is providing AXIA users with real world solutions and tangible value."
How It Works
Transmission of a Webcast can begin immediately, or scheduled in advance. A link to the live stream is automatically created by ComVu's patent-pending Bandwidth Exchange (BE) system, and the video is broadcast to one or one thousand viewers.
ComVu PocketCaster maximizes local wireless connectivity by requiring only one stream to be transmitted (at highest possible quality). Encoding quality of the video is optimized for all major wireless networks, including: GPRS, 3G/Edge, WiFi, or BGAN. The originating stream is then propagated by ComVu's BE system and delivered to viewers. ComVu's solution solves the problem of restricted wireless bandwidth, which exists regardless of improvements in smartphone processing power.
Enhanced Webcast services provide for browser-based control over the total number of viewers allowed, password protection, and pay-per-view. Additionally, server side video archiving will be available Q2 2005, enabling on-demand viewing. Who Can Watch
Transmission of PocketCaster streams will initially be available to viewers on Windows Media Player enabled platforms: wireless devices, Macintosh, PC Windows, and iTV set top boxes.
Pricing and Availability
ComVu's PocketCaster beta service is now available at no charge to AXIA PDA phone users. Full service launch in Q2 2005, will maintain a free level of Webcasting, and will enable all users to access enhanced features and reserve bandwidth for an incremental fee. Fee-based services will be affordable and instantly available using a major credit card or PayPal account.