A British firm says it has invented a system to broadcast video direct from satellites to individual computers.
Called EnfoCast, the system is claimed to be one million times cheaper than broadband web streaming, as well as faster and with higher quality pictures.
Compatible with any Windows 95 or later operating system, it has been developed by Essex-based Enformatica and is already capable of providing channels such as CNN and BBC News 24 to its subscribers.
Enfocast also provides file delivery and management for video-on-demand systems, and allows users to integrate local content (in addition to the broadcast content). From the small-dish satellite Ethernet router, the system connects directly to existing Lans and Windows workstations, the firm said.
William Poel, chairman at Enformatica, added: "The real challenge [with this technology] is in the user and content management database architecture, which has to be versatile enough to meet the demands of a system in which video/audio and data elements can be integrated into an intelligent and scaleable broadcast service.
"Enfocast provides a delivery channel that means that desktops can be targeted anywhere in the world with an individually tailored broadcast service. Obvious extensions in the future include mobile phones and pager networks, and we are already working on systems that will address these needs.
"Not only does such a platform deliver, it provides the medium compatible with the aspirations of those who work in today's rich multimedia environments who are currently prevented from addressing mass audiences in real time, because of the limitations of unicast delivery."
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