VDOLIVE Vive Video Player 2.0

VDOLIVE Vive Video Player 2.0
VDOnet Corp.

VDOnet is one of the pioneering firms in the race to set the standards for video streaming technology and in all likelihhod will be the first to reach the finish line. If you have seen a film reproduced on the Internet, you probably saw it through VDOLive (an exclusively server-reproducing system). CNN, CBS News and Fox Sunday News are among the broadcasting stations that supply segments drawn from their own programs in VDOLive format. With VDOLive 2.0, VDOnet is now on its second generation application, while many competitors are still only wrapping up beta releases of their first generation. The client, Video Player2.0, is one of the most complete reproducers that we tested. It is run like a plug-in for Navigator or Explorer or as an autonomous application and reproduces VDOLive files memorized either on the system or on the remote servers. It doesn't allow the viewer to save the VDOLive files that enter the system nor to reproduce them. If you want to see a film again it is ne cessary to down load the file another time.

Immediate video visualization on telephone connections is not one of VDOLive Player's strongpoints, though it provides an almost instantaneous report on the state of the transmission. As soon as a link is clicked, the reproducer loads the file and shows the reception rate. This function might not be as gratifying as seeing the video itself, something which other products manage better, but at least one is able to see that the downloading is actually taking place. In the course of our tests via phone connection, film viewing began after approx. 15/ 20 seconds. Once underway, the image quality proved to be rather good: video and audio remained in synch and the films were played to correct length, regardless of the type of connection.

While reproduction was seamless with a fast connection, with a 28.8 Kbps modem connection, a certain number of frames were lost, creating moments of graininess while the program tried to update the incoming flow of video data. The VDOLive Player offers the viewer considerable control over the reproduced films: it is possible to regulate the audio volume and to visualize the video as a slide show, (permitting when necessary, a more detailed glimpse of the single frames). It is possible to start viewing a film from within the browser, then if desired to pass on to another application while leaving VDOLive on in the background like a TV screen. < P> The administration utility offers few configuration options, but allows for the selection of bandwidths (between 8 Kbps and 256 Kbps) to be dedicated to each flow. The VDO Capture utility allows one to create video files (by inserting video sequences with a telecamera) and to convert videos already present on the disk with the VDO Clip utility which compresses data into the VDOnet format (as long as the starting file is in uncompressed AVI format). The VDO Clip utility is the true controller of the quality of a VDOLive file, allowing the user to specify the degree of audio and video compression as well as the speed of reproduction. In the course of our tests, the changes effected upon the speed settings proved to be the major single factor in the overall quality of visualization. And tinkering with this configuration value is what truly revealed the product's strongpoint.

Videos compressed for broad bandwidths (between 100 Kbps and 256 Kbps) played back superbly on our rapid network connection, with negligible loss of image quality and few hesitations, in sharp contrast with the usual jerky and unfocused films of the public Web sites. Compressed files for low bandwidths (from 14 Kbps to 26 Kbps) on our 28.8 Kbps modem connection reproduced films reminiscent of slide projections. While testing Video Server VDOLive, we reached the conclusion that the VDOLive films available on many public Web sites don't live up to the true potential of this product.

The system is able to offer high quality video reproduction over the Intranet as long as the network has enough bandwidth at its disposal. Single patrons who wish to see news and other presentations in VDOLive format can download the player free at http://www.vdo.net. Intranet administrators will want to try VDOLive Server Video to see for themselves how this technology can offer excellent results on a fast network. The price is fair, starting from $120 for each transmission.

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Last updated 7-Jan-97
Webmaster Elsy mail to: elsy@interbusiness.it