InternetWeek Claims First Successful Long Distance HDTV Over the Internet

HDTV has been broadcast via the Internet2 (see previous story), and several companies such as Lucent, Motorola, and 2NetFX say they have been working on the technology. But InternetWeek announced last week that they have conducted what they claim is the first ever high-definition television (HDTV) broadcast over the Internet.

IW says that the multicast data stream, which featured underwater video images, was sent from the Advanced Network Computing Lab at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Campus to the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffet Field, CA, using software and hardware from 2NetFX. The web site says that the test was conducted as a part of its "InternetWeek Lab Test on Enterprise Infrastructure."

In a statement, IW explains that "the success of this broadcast is important because it opens the door to new opportunities. For instance, the top medical experts from around the world can share highly detailed images allowing them to interact in real time, diagnose, and discuss the best course of patient treatment within a virtual environment. Other applications for HDTV broadcasting include areas such as biotech, the physical sciences, and more."

The University of Hawaii's Brian Chee adds that "traditionally corporate Internet connections have not been configured to be able to handle multicast data from the public Internet due to misconceptions about the technology. This demonstration shows that 'normal' data and high bandwidth video can coexist peacefully even on a public Internet."

Addressing the possibility that this HDTV event might eventually have an impact on consumer HDTV broadcasts, IW's Wayne Rash says that "the transmission demonstrates the future of content delivery over the Internet. Each year, we see more information reach customers' desktops. The ability to deliver such images over an enterprise network, and eventually the Net, means that vastly more information can be delivered in a way customers can use." IW's Curt Franklin adds that "the video program was used to demonstrate the capabilities of high-capacity network routers. The fact that it could be seen for the first time across some 3000 miles of trans-oceanic cable brings the Internet a step closer to converting hype into the promise of reality."