App for making, streaming video e-mails arrives

Today at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference and exhibition in Las Vegas, the Right Bits -- a developer of audio and video compression technologies for communication, streaming and storage applications -- introduced Videogram Creator software, a way for Mac, Windows, and handheld users to create and send streaming video e-mails.

"Videograms" combine text messages, graphics and up to five minutes of audio/video content into a compressed, self-contained HTML file. They can be created in three steps, using the software's built-in editor feature, according to Raymond Yu, president of the Right Bits. A free trial copy of the software, which allows users to send e-mail messages featuring up to 20 seconds of video, is available for download. The full version costs US$49.95.

To play Videograms, recipients just double-click the HTML file. They're played back by small Java applets (about 15 KB in size) that automatically load over any Internet connection in seconds each time an e-mail is viewed. Videogram Creator software can purportedly reduce a 30-second video clip at 160 x 120 resolution to 500 KB. Because the Java applets behind Videograms cannot access a computer's hard drive or local resources, they're the most secure way to deliver video, Yu said.

Videograms are compatible with any standard browser and email-program and will play back on any Mac and Windows system. They'll also play back on handheld devices that support a Java implementation.

Videogram Creator software is the first consumer application of the Right Bits' audio/video compression technologies. The company's proprietary "Littlebits" codecs compress audio/video, optimizing it for Internet streaming and video transmission at data rates from 50 kbps to 250 kbps.

For higher quality or longer video clips, Rightbits' "Bigbits" video and "MUZIP" audio encoders support streaming from 300 kbps (VHS quality) to 1.5 Mbps (DVD quality). Audio streaming is supported by the company's MUZIP audio codecs.

Audio quality at 32 kbps is near-MP3 quality, achieving superior quality at 48 kbps and 64 kbps, Yu said.

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