SAN DIEGO, USA: PacketVideo (PV), the multimedia software company responsible for many mobile industry firsts, hit a major milestone this month with the celebration of its 10th year as a multimedia software pioneer.
August 10, 1998: The Birth of a Pioneer
In 1998, the year PV was founded, it became the first company to put video on a mobile device to prove that compressed video could travel over mobile networks. Since then, video has become commonplace on mobile devices, and PV’s software solutions have shipped on more than 250 million devices worldwide. Among the services PV’s software powers are Verizon Wireless’ VCAST music and video, NTT DoCoMo’s 3G FOMA service and Orange’s OrangeWorld.
“We always believed in the potential in mobile entertainment that could be enjoyed anywhere, any time and on any device,” said Jim Brailean, Ph.D., PV’s co-founder and CEO. “Remember, 1998 was an era when mobile phones had monochrome screens with room for 16 speed-dial numbers. People thought we were crazy, but we knew our software solutions would make it easy for handsets to become less about voice and more about the mobile lifestyle, especially mobile media.
“Now our solutions power video recording, video downloads, streaming video-on-demand, mobile broadcast video and two-way video telephony,” said Brailean. “And that’s just the video side of our business. We have just as many solutions in mobile music.”
Since its inception, PV has established a number of mobile industry firsts, including the first demonstration of streaming video over a 2G mobile network in 1999, followed by numerous related trials on 2.5G and 3G networks. PV powered the first multi-format mobile media players.
PV was first to power devices with rich, interactive media features on multiple platforms including Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Linux. PV software is also the engine powering the widespread QTV, the media player of the majority of Qualcomm chipsets. PV provided the first camcorder and video telephony solutions on Symbian and Windows Mobile platforms.
PV software was the first to provide over-the-air media file downloads using Windows Media, MP3, and AAC audio formats. PV has also enabled sideloading from PCs to mobile phones using Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) and WMDRM-10 for Verizon Wireless and NTT DoCoMo in 2006. PV provided the first full-featured mobile Internet movie player for NTT DoCoMo in 2007.
PV media technology has been enabling Orange mobile TV services since 2003 and PV’s innovative technologies and features continue to differentiate Orange’s rich TV services, including progressive downloads, fast channel switching and time shifting.
PV has always believed that industry standards improve the end-user experience and it has actively participated in many standards activities, Brailean said. A number of PV technologies are part of or have motivated video, media, wireless, telecommunications, and digital home standards.
PV is also a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, which, together with Google, has created the Android platform. The Android platform features PV’s OpenCORE media subsystem, powering all Android-related multimedia applications. PV is also a member of the LiMo Foundation.
Merging Mobile Entertainment with the Living Room
PV’s current challenge is to extend the mobile media services it enables to the consumer’s home, and its landmark PVConnect media server software does just that.
“Home networks are usually created so that multi-PC households can share a broadband connection, but why not enjoy your favorite media services on your home devices?” said Brailean. “You should be able to rent a video using your phone and watch it on your TV, listen to a radio station personalized just for you on your stereo system, or share your pictures with your friends and family on their TVs.
“Obtaining photos, video and music on the mobile phone is on the rise, we’ve liberated that media from the phone to be enjoyed around the home. At the same time, we have made the mobile phone a remote control or a mobile preview device,” he said.
PV’s connected home software solutions are embedded on many consumer devices from major manufacturers such as Cisco/Linksys, Buffalo, HP, LaCie, Terratec, Loewe and more, and sold directly to consumers under the TwonkyMedia™ brand name.
PV’s next frontier is integrating Web-based services, such as Flickr, YouTube, Rhapsody or Netflix into a home network’s media library.
“User-generated content has just exploded, and now that high-quality cameras and camcorders are standard on mass-market mobile phones, we want to make it easy to get those photos and videos off the phone and in front of friends and family,” said Brailean.
What’s in Store for the Next 10 Years in Mobile?
“The mobile phone will continue to be the consumer’s camera, music player, TV and Web browser, and we plan to add a few more things to that, including being a gateway to your home network and your media collections,” he said.
“But 10 years from now, the user experience will be amazing, amazingly fast, entertaining and powerful, with the content you want never more than two clicks away from you or your friends, on your phone, on your PC, from your TV or from your car’s dashboard, no matter where the content is stored.
“This,” Brailean said, “is our vision of a truly user-centered media universe, and it will be a reality when PV celebrates its 20-year anniversary.”