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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 13, 2013

Time-Shifting Video Archiving Platform Creates a 'TV Time Machine'

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

artec technologies is adding time-shifting to its XENTAURIX media and broadcast platform, to be launched at IBC2013. The update adds the capability to time-shift live streaming online and via mobile devices from local broadcaster feeds by minutes, hours, years or even decades—with the ability to search through saved content at will.

The ancillary effect is that television stations need no longer maintain their own long-term archives, and can instead put all of their material online, protected by closed user groups.

The new functionality adds the ability to time-shift over extended periods of time. In combination with the XENTAURIX search engine, users can search through recordings of many television stations, using metadata including the EPG, subtitles and audio transcriptions.

Image via Shutterstock

“This creates a new audio-visual archive with virtually unlimited capacity,” said Ingo Hoffmann, CTO of artec, “a kind of Google (News - Alert) for television, a ‘television time machine.’”

The platform is already used for a variety of practical applications including audience analysis and compliance logging. It acquires content along with its metadata, processes and records it, streams it live or now in a time-shifted capacity, and allows for search through the metadata. Streaming can be online, to mobile devices, set-top boxes or to hybrid broadcast-broadband (HbbTV) networks.

“Online monitoring and editing is creating millions of hours of video which are directly accessible, and which can now be searched,” added Hoffmann. “This technology is as applicable to reality television and docu-soaps as it is to environmental and traffic surveillance video. You cannot travel through space with our television time machine but you cannot travel through time to any point for instant, frame accurate playback.”

In the era of big data, the best way to maintain digital archives has been a hot subject of conversation for local TV stations. A variety of solutions have been making their way to market, but the Internet Archive also provides a third-party, utility-like service. Last fall, the archive’s online collection added every piece of news produced since 2009 to its coffers, gleaned across 20 different channels, 1,000 news series and more than 350,000 separate programs. It makes it all available freely online, like a digital library.

Eventually, “we want to collect all the books, music and video that has ever been produced by humans,” founder Brewster Kahle told the New York Times last year.

The site, archive.org, gets about two million visitors every day, ranging from researchers to average citizens. Its original purpose was to provide fodder for a more politically engaged populace. “The focus is to help the American voter to better be able to examine candidates and issues,” Kahle said at the time. “If you want to know exactly what Mitt Romney said about health care in 2009, you’ll be able to find it.”

The site needs to work on content discovery and its search interface, and doesn’t provide the data management capabilities of a paid platform like artec, but the extenuating uses of a service like the Archive are of course are much larger than creating a legion of armchair Jon Stewarts.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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