CableLabs® Issues Headend VOD Metadata Content 2.0 Specification
Louisville, Colorado, May 22, 2006—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (Cablelabs®) announced today that it has issued the Video-On-Demand (VOD) Metadata Content Specification 2.0. This specification improves upon version 1.1, which is in common use today, by aiding cable operators as they prepare for scaling up content offerings and customer usage in next generation VOD services.
The specification affects cable operator back-office functions by creating a video distribution specification for content providers and aggregators that reduces backend content transport and storage demands, increases the amount of standardized metadata available for use in searching and simplifies the user interface, which gives cable operators additional flexibility in ways to offer content to customers. Through these specifications and applications developed around this standardized metadata, cable operators can also provide VOD customers with simple ways to find content they want, easily search for their favorite scenes within the selected video, and discover timely new video entertainment or promotions that target their interests.
“Time Warner Cable is pleased CableLabs has released the metadata 2.0 specification, which is the result of a truly collaborative effort across the industry,” said Mike LaJoie, Time Warner Cable Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “The capabilities offered through the implementation of this new specification represent the maturation of the VOD market and the desire to advance it in the future.”
“With more than 2 billion views since 2004, Comcast customers are clearly embracing VOD,” said Mark Hess, senior vice president of Business and Product Development—Digital TV for Comcast. “As usage and the amount of VOD content continue to grow, the industry's adoption of CableLabs' VOD Metadata Content 2.0 spec will benefit cable operators and consumers alike by helping to improve the overall VOD experience.”
The VOD Metadata Content Specification 2.0 is the first application to use the Asset Distribution Interface (ADI) 2.0 Platform Specifications as part of the next-generation of On-Demand cable services. The document is the product of a collaborative group comprised of cable operators, hardware vendors, and content providers.
This newly released specification builds upon a family of documents that currently are in use and have been adopted to address the needs of VOD services in the cable industry. Version 2.0 migrates the existing single title VOD metadata 1.1 services onto the next-generation platform to allow cable operators better management & scalability, to aid in the implementation of better user interfaces, and to improve on the 1.1 specification by defining additional search options more flexible offer management.
Content providers receive guidance from the specification on the distribution of content assets to cable operators in a single video title release for next-generation platforms. Improvements are also provided over older VOD specifications by allowing for reuse of video content in different combinations enabling content to be shown as a single feature, or as part of a double feature without requiring content to be re-encoded. Furthermore cable operators can support the swapping of current movie trailers without re-encoding. Cable operators can realize additional efficiencies because VOD component systems in the backend of the cable network benefit from improved automated validation mechanisms on the received metadata and content files.
CableLabs developed this specification working with cable operators, content providers, and hardware component developers operating under a royalty-free Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) pool. The VOD metadata project at CableLabs was formed to develop a common approach to content asset metadata that enables cost-effective VOD operations, content encoding, and bandwidth management services located at cable system headends.
The VOD metadata project already has issued several specifications, as well as revisions to those documents, to deal with current and next-generation VOD operations; they include CableLabs ADI 2.0 Structures Specification, Cablelabs ADI 2.0 Asset Inventory Messages Specification, CableLabs ADI Specification 1.1, CableLabs VOD Content Specification 1.1, and CableLabs VOD Content Encoding Profiles Specification.
“This has been a significant, constructive, and collaborative effort between many diverse companies involved in the Video-On-Demand segment of the cable industry,” commented CableLabs Project Director Dr. Yasser Syed. “The VOD Content Specification also accommodates the future needs of a growing service as anticipated by industry expert participants. With the ADI 2.0 platform, other non-traditional VOD applications can now be developed as needs arise that can leverage this core specification.”
Specification contributors and participants in the CableLabs Metadata IPR pool include: Ascent Media; Broadbus Technologies, C-COR Solutions, Cablevision Systems Corporation, Cauldron Solutions, Charter Communications, Inc.; Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Concurrent Computer Corporation, Cox Communications, Inc.; DataTV Networks, Inc. (Home Preview Channel); ESPN Enterprises, Inc.; EVR, Home Box Office, Imake Software and Services, Inc.; Indemand LLC, Mag Rack, Midstream Technologies, Inc.; New Frontier Media; Scientific-Atlanta, Inc.; Scott Solutions LLC, Scripps Networks, SeaChange International, Sencore, Inc.; Showtime Networks, Inc.; SRMedia; Starz Encore Group, LLC; the Platform, Tandberg Television, Time Warner Cable, Turner Broadcasting System, TVN Entertainment, and Worldwide Premieres. The VOD Metadata Content 2.0 specification document, as well as other CableLabs specifications, is available on the CableLabs Web site at www.cablelabs.com.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
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