SeaChange Automates Content Delivery across Digital Channels, High-Definition and On-Demand Television

Time Warner Cable First to Deploy SeaChange’s Digital Transcoder Software for Seamless Ad Insertion into Digital Cable Channels

Source: SeaChange International, Yahoo Business News

MAYNARD, Mass – (May 3, 2003) SeaChange International is shipping a new software system that empowers cable television operators and content originators to repurpose ads, programs, movies and other video for digital channels, video-on-demand and High-Definition television. With SeaChange’s Digital Transcoder – a seamless enhancement to SeaChange digital video platforms – video content is automatically reformatted to serve disparate video origination points with the highest appropriate video quality.

Hollywood studios, television networks and advertisers are repurposing their video content to reach additional audiences on various digital platforms. SeaChange is focused on streamlining the television ‘content pipeline’ – from origination to television homes – and Digital Transcoder is a key enabler. Already, Time Warner Cable of Houston and Time Warner Cable of San Antonio have launched the software on their existing analog ad insertion platforms to place ads and promotions in the digital tier.

“Digital Transcoder seamlessly extends our customers’ SeaChange ad insertion, VOD and broadcast systems, allowing all their archived and incoming content to feed digital services,” said James Kelso, vice president/general manager, broadband systems, SeaChange. “This new software does all the heavy lifting, unveiling yet another layer of revenue opportunities. It’s another example of SeaChange platforms adding intelligent automation to simplify the ‘content pipeline’ in the face of increasingly complex media operations.”

Springboard to digital cable ads

The average local cable spot insertion operation places thousands of spots into analog channels each week, from typical 30-second ads and cable promotions to long-form infomercials. Ad traffic is increasing significantly with digital cable tier and High-Definition channel ad avails; it will dramatically escalate as targeting and VOD ad models emerge. With each new outlet requiring different bit rates and encoding parameters, having an automated transcoding solution becomes crucial as local insertion opportunities soar to millions per week in hybrid transmission environments.

SeaChange’s Digital Transcoder handles these opportunities within the normal framework of today’s automated analog spot insertion operations. Spots are encoded once (from tape or other sources) for scheduled playback to any channel with transport or program streams requirements. Formats including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 (in support of IP streaming services) and High-Definition (480i, 720p and 1080i) are supported across a wide range of bit rates. Scheduling, verification, monitoring, traffic & billing and system maintenance processes operate seamlessly as before.

Once initialized within the SeaChange Spot System, the “set and forget” Digital Transcoder automatically applies the unique encoding parameters (file type, bit rate, audio and meta data) assigned to each insertion point. Digital Transcoder preserves storage space on Spot System Master Video Libraries since only one copy is needed to fulfill various output requirements – even for very large multi-zone cable systems or ad interconnects serving many regional cable systems. Taking spot quality assurances another step further with automation, Digital Transcoder solves the problem of varying audio levels in program breaks. During transcoding, spot audio levels are matched and locked-in to the predetermined levels for each individual channel.

Specifically tuned for multichannel cable environments, SeaChange Digital Transcoder is powered by exclusive software developed in partnership with transcoding technologies leader Ligos Corporation. The SeaChange Digital Transcoder supports video quality specified by cable operators, studios and advertisers. It employs unique tactics like Macroblock Reduction, Quantization Matrix Control, Advanced Rate Control and dual pass encoding.

These technologies analyze the digital content, determine the ideal transcoding algorithm, and predict hundreds of known situations within the content with the potential to generate digital video artifacts. The software automatically adjusts the transcoder’s compression and filters to avoid artifacts and produce the highest quality content.

SeaChange software and automation: Spot investment protection

SeaChange Spot insertion systems helped automate local cable and cable interconnect advertising beginning in 1994. More than four million spots are aired daily by SeaChange Spot customers Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Insight, National Cable Communications, Rogers, Time Warner, RCN and others. Engineered for fully automated operations, SeaChange Spot software allows these customers to transition from analog to digital cable advertising without adding personnel or changing operations. SeaChange continues to reinvest and develop new software that extends the capabilities of its deployed systems.

SeaChange will demonstrate Digital Transcoder and other strategic software and systems supporting the television content pipeline at SCTE Cable Tec Expo in Philadelphia, May 12-14 in booth 2360. Digital Transcoder for ad insertion is shipping now; it will be available for SeaChange VOD Systems in the third quarter of 2003.

SeaChange drives the on-demand business with highly automated and fault-resilient digital video systems. Today, SeaChange VOD Systems provide more than 445,000 on-demand streams in over 83 deployments for North America’s largest cable operators including Adelphia, AOL Time Warner, Cablevision, Comcast, Insight, Mediacom, RCN and Rogers. Around the world, broadcasters and television networks are empowered by SeaChange’s systems, capitalizing on digital video to streamline their operations.

About SeaChange

SeaChange International provides digital video systems that are changing television. Its powerful server and software systems enable television operators to provide new on-demand services and to gain greater efficiencies in advertising and content delivery. With its Emmy-winning MediaCluster technology, thousands of SeaChange systems are helping broadband, broadcast and satellite television companies to streamline operations, expand services and increase revenues. SeaChange is headquartered in Maynard, Massachusetts and has product development, support and sales offices throughout the world. Visit http://www.seachangeinternational.com .

About Ligos Corporation

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Ligos Corporation is a leading worldwide provider of software-only media stream management technology. Since 1997, Ligos has been a leader in video compression, delivering real-time software codecs and video tools designed to run on standard platforms. For more information on Ligos Corporation, its products or licensing, access its Web site at http://www.ligos.com or call 1 (415) 249-0100 or toll free at 1 (888) 464-8765 to speak with a sales representative.

SeaChange Spot System and SeaChange Digital Transcoder are trademarks of SeaChange International, Inc.. Ligos is a registered trademark of Ligos Corporation. All other trademarks product names, and/or trade names are used solely for the purpose of identification and belong to their respective holders.