CTV first Canadian network to offer high definition video online (done in Silverlight!)


http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/show/CTVShows/20090317/hd_beta_announced_090317/20090317/

High definition streaming video is now just a click away for online viewers across Canada.

CTV.ca, Canada's online destination for news, sports and entertainment, is bringing high definition video to the computer screens of Canadians with the launch of the CTV HD Beta Player.

CTV becomes the first Canadian network to deliver HD quality content on the web.

The CTV HD Beta Player will allow fans of Canada's #1 original comedy "Corner Gas" and hit CTV police drama "Flashpoint" to catch every minute of action in clear, HD streaming video format from the comfort of their home computer. "Malawi's Song," CTV's first-ever, made-for-digital production, will also be available for viewing on the HD Player. The initiative is part of a beta program being conducted in connection with industry leaders Microsoft and Akamai Technologies. In addition to providing CTV and its partners with an opportunity to experiment with HD technology online, the player will also be leveraged to solicit feedback from users that can be used in the future development of the player.

"Being the first Canadian network to offer high definition video online is a reflection of our ongoing efforts to evolve the online space," said Stephan Argent, CTV's Vice-President, Digital Media. "The CTV HD Beta Player allows us to raise the bar even higher in our commitment to delivering premium online content to Canadians on their terms. Experimenting with this technology and incorporating the valuable feedback we receive from our audience will be an excellent learning initiative for us and provide us with significant insights as to how HD video can enhance the overall user experience."

The CTV HD Beta Player will run parallel with the industry-leading CTV video player which, in combination with stellar programming and best-of-breed technology, led to doubling video streams for Canada's online network throughout 2008, a reflection of Canadians' growing appetite for high quality online content.

The HD player will run on a new streaming video innovation called Akamai AdaptiveEdge Streaming for Microsoft Silverlight, the latest in streaming video technology to come from industry leaders Microsoft and Akamai. This technology is different because it adapts stream quality based on a user's connection speed - so consumers with varying bandwidth connections can experience HD quality streaming with instant start-up times and no buffering. It will mark the first time the technology is being used in Canada.

"We're proud to support the CTV HD Beta Player and help CTV bring stunning HD quality TV programs to Canadians." said Mark Relph, Vice President, Developer Tools and Platform, Microsoft Canada. "It's another demonstration of how Microsoft Silverlight is helping leading Canadian companies deliver an unparalleled online viewing experience to their users."

Powered by Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) 7.0 Smooth Streaming Technology, Microsoft Silverlight and Akamai's AdaptiveEdge Streaming for Microsoft Silverlight, this solution enables CTV to deliver a high fidelity online viewing experience for the consumer with instant start up times and no buffering.

"Akamai is pleased to be a part of this initiative to bring premium HD programming to CTV.ca," said Tim Napoleon, chief strategist, Digital Media at Akamai. "We believe that Akamai AdaptiveEdge Streaming has the potential to change the way consumers experience higher quality video online. Showcasing these popular Canadian shows with adaptive streaming is just another step in our long-standing relationship with CTV as they push the envelope to bring viewers the most rewarding viewing experience via the most advanced technology possible."

The trial will run through the end of August and provide access to the full seasons of both "Corner Gas" and "Flashpoint." The CTV HD Beta Player can be viewed at:

http://hdbeta.ctv.ca

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