Java-based streaming '10 times faster than MPEG-4'

RealNetworks may be preparing RealOne for mobile devices, but Finnish developer Oplayo reckons it has the ultimate technology for streaming audio and video
Written by Philippe Leroy, Contributor

Finnish developer Oplayo has been demonstrating a compression technology at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes which, says the company, is up to ten times faster for delivering audio and video to mobile devices than MPEG-4.

Baptised MVQ (which stands for Motion Vector Quantization), the technology enables extremely light video decoding that requires a low processing power at the receiving end, making it suitable for wireless devices. Instead of using a plug-in, or a player as is the case with both Microsoft and RealNetworks technologies, Oplayo's MVQ uses a 20KB Java applet that can be transmitted to a PC, PDA or phone along with the video package.

"Once compressed, the audio or video media can be used to enrich sales presentations, support after-sales packages or offer long-distance training," explained Anttoni Vesterinen, Oplayo chief executive, speaking to ZDNet France at the 3GSM conference. Mobile streaming is likely to be adopted first in areas such as music distribution or tourist information as well as sport or cultural programmes -- a promising activity for content providers -- he added.

Created in 1996, the Finnish company was restructured in 1999, following financial aid from Nokia Venture Partners. A shareholder and user of Oplayo technologies, Nokia uses video support to show its own customers how to change the cover of their mobile phone.

Pfizer and General Motors are two other well-known clients of the Helsinki developer. Oplayo's visualisation and creative software are now available in France: version 3.1 of the toolkit costs 30,000 euros for a user group of five licences. For the same number of users, Composer Pro is available for 45,000 euros, providing users with the ability to mix video into PowerPoint slide shows in order to make presentations more striking.

Users who access their email via the Internet or a Java browser will also be able to view files that have been compressed with Oplayo. Both Microsoft's ActiveX and .Net platforms as well as Qualcomm's Brew are also supported. The MVQ algorithm compresses mixed audiovisual formats (AVI, Wav, MJPEG, MPEG2, QuickTime and MP3 files).

In order to target pocket PC and GPRS mobile phone owners, the video stream appears in a small display area. According to Vesterinen, the Oplayo solution only requires a small amount of bandwidth (around 14kbps) for the video stream which is almost half the bandwidth typically available on GPRS networks.

The main benefits for the general public are that the Oplayo player doesn't require any pre-installation and the video buffer lasts only a few seconds, said Vesterinen. On the content provider's side, neither streaming server nor dedicated cache is required. They will, however, be able to benefit from an infrastructure built for delivering multimedia streaming in order to provide more users with optimised response times.

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