News

Net Streamers Tackle HD

2/15/2008 7:00 PM Eastern

Two Internet startups — BitGravity and Asankya — are pushing what they claim are new ways to crack the code on delivering high-definition video streams.

Atlanta-based Asankya has developed a peer-to-peer networking technology that uses multiple network resources, thereby avoiding the congestion-related problems that plague streaming quality. “It's like BitTorrent on steroids,” Asankya CEO Scott Ryan said.

Called Hypermesh, the system uses a 3-Megabyte piece of software that caches up to 1 Gigabyte (or more) of data on Windows PCs.

It uses a proprietary protocol to distribute data, which Ryan claimed allows the Asankya software to support true streaming video, unlike other peer-to-peer technologies.

Hypermesh is currently being piloted in 10 U.S. markets, Ryan said. Asankya has 15 full-time equivalent employees. The company's investors include Veritas Venture Partners, Seraph Group and In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, which is also an initial customer. (Ryan would not say what In-Q-Tel was using the technology for.)

BitGravity, meanwhile, has launched BG LiveBroadcast, a content delivery network service that can broadcast live content over the Internet “to millions of viewers in a high-quality, highly-reliable experience that rivals television,” according to the company.

BG LiveBroadcast uses a modified form of the Adobe Flash multimedia system. Like Asankya, BitGravity is using some proprietary techniques in the underlying streaming layer to optimize the delivery of live content.

But Dave Belson, a senior product marketing manager at CDN services provider Akamai Technologies — a potential competitor to both companies — said it didn't appear that either startup is doing anything fundamentally new.

“We know that when you control both ends of the connection, you can do a lot of stuff that is nonstandard to improve performance,” he said.

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