Akamai pitches Hollywood on its HD network

Internet streaming for high definition television content

Akamai Tuesday began pitching its new HD Network as the perfect solution for entertainment companies that want to deliver high-definition video streams over the Internet.

The CDN provider's new HD Network utilizes its HD EdgePlatform and combines it with digital video recorder technology and an adaptive bitrate streaming technology that adjusts users' delivery bitrates based on their network capacity. During a live videoconference Tuesday, Akamai executives pitched the network to entertainment companies as a compliment for live TV and DVDs that would let content providers stream higher quality videos without the traditional problems of jitter and long buffer times that users regularly encounter.

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"Our HD Network has been designed for large-scale broadcasters and studios," said Akamai CEO Paul Sagan. "Our goal is to meet and surpass the needs of the film and television industries… TV is now possible online at HD bitrates."

Akamai cofounder and chief scientist Tom Leighton said that Akamai's HD Network had a unique advantage in delivering HD streams because it had roughly 1,000 servers located on networks' last miles in 750 cities around the world. Leighton said that this access to the last mile has enabled Akamai to deliver content at a rate of 2Mbps or greater to two-thirds of users in the United States and at a rate of 5Mbps or greater to around a quarter of users in the United States.

Users streaming content over the Akamai HD Network will be able to watch video using Flash, Silverlight and iPhone protocols. The network also features an HD content analytics that allow providers to monitor and understand who is accessing their content and an HD player based on the open source standard provider through the Open Video Player Framework.

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