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ABC gives details about HD online plans

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 01 Jun 2007 3:23 User comments (4)

ABC gives details about HD online plans We reported recently that ABC.com is to start offering TV shows on its website in high definition. Popular shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy will be part of the line-up. However, when the plans first emerged, it left many wondering if their Internet connection would actually be fast enough for the service to function adequately. Surprisingly, bandwidth might not be as much of an issue as initially thought.
Skarpi Hedinsson, vice president of technology for the Disney-ABC Television Group, said that tests of HD resolution video have been carried out with bitrates between 850kb/s and 2mbps/s. "Were not talking 5 megabits per second or something crazy like that," he said. Even with just basic video knowledge, applying this bitrate to a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels sounds insane.

Cable providers typically encode HD streams at 12-19mbps in the MPEG-2 format, but even with MPEG-4, at least 5 mbps would be expected. So how is ABC.com hoping to achieve this? With the help of On2 Technologies. On2 has gained some interest due to its high quality video codecs. "We have invested in a facility that has very sophisticated encoding," Hedinsson said. "Three or four months ago, I would have said we wouldn't have been able to do this."

He believes the problem for end-users wont be bandwidth, but instead CPU power. "It's not going to be bandwidth that is the problem -- it's going to be the horsepower on the PC end," he said. "You do need quite a bit of CPU power to render 24 frames per second. We are going to do our best to educate users on what their experience will be like."

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4 user comments

11.6.2007 3:33

I love what abc.com has done so far with online video. I have a 256k wireless dsl and i can stream fullscreen video from there site. Yes here and there you can see the video buffering but instead of stoping the video to buffer it downgrades it for a bit. If they have something new in the works that makes it even better i will be watching more and more on abc.com. Dont get me wrong abc HDTV rocks more, but sometimes you just cant get to a tv to see the next ep. of lost.

21.6.2007 19:37

Is this going to be online video steaming or is this going to be like a youtube video format where we can wait for it to upload and then press play and watch the episode? If its just going to be live streaming then its going to be kinda the same thing that you have to watch it at certain times, were as its going to be pretty much like normal TV.

32.6.2007 17:45

abc.com right now has it set up that all of the top shows are online one day after they show it on tv and it stays up for four weeks I think. Its something like that. As for the pauseing it on abc.com I've tryed that but it didnt seen to help. The shows are also choped into 4 sections with 3 stops for 30sec. video advertizment.

411.7.2007 16:56

While I'm not a fan of the commercials, I've got to say that ABC does a hell of a job putting their content online. I understand that the commercials need to be there so that the service remains free, but working overnights lets me watch a lot more TV this way.

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