SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -
October 10, 1999
Pacific Northwest Gigapop
ResearchTV & Sony Electronics
Inc. Reach Convergence Milestone in Success of High Definition Television
Over Internet Demonstration
Efforts at the University of Washington (UW) to send studio-quality High
Definition Television (HDTV) over the Internet paid off on September 9,
when computer engineers and television experts celebrated their first
successful demonstration of HDTV video transmission over the Internet2
Working in support of ResearchTV, a consortium of leading research institutions
creating greater access to research information, engineers from UW and
the Pacific Northwest Gigapop teamed with colleagues at Sony Electronics
and Stanford University to demonstrate the first-ever streaming of High
Definition Television (HDTV) using only Internet transport technologies,
rather than ATM networks or dedicated circuits.
The experimental transmission originated at the Stanford University
campus in Palo Alto, and was carried across the new "Abilene" Internet2
backbone to the Pacific/NorthWest Gigapop in Seattle, which is the interconnection
point for high-performance networks in the Northwest. From there the HDTV
signals were delivered to the University of Washington campus network
using Gigabit Ethernet technology. On October 12, this demonstration will
be repeated at a meeting of Internet2 developers at the University of
"HDTV over the Internet brings us closer to a more perfect transfer
of visual data," said Amy Philipson, executive director of the ResearchTV
consortium, "Particularly in the case of the accessing vivid images that
are important to the progress of research activity. This is one of the
highest speed applications ever run over the Internet."
University of Washington and Sony developers were extremely pleased
as they viewed the success of their work that culminated in a 40 minute
stream of HDTV video sent from Stanford to the University of Washington
at over 200 megabits/sec, which is more than ten times faster than 19.2
Mbps "consumer grade" HDTV streams. The demonstration used the highest
quality industry standards with Sony HDCAM/HDVS equipment to capture,
encode, and compress HDTV video. The success in the transfer of data is
a result of original software written by UW programmers that handled error
correction and encapsulated the data into packets which were transferred
across Internet2 and reassembled as HDTV video in Seattle. This is a significant
achievement as currently most television broadcasts on the commercial
Internet are constrained to 20 to 200 kilobits per second using short
clips of video shown in small windows on PC screens.
"The challenge of these demonstrations is to be able to sustain a continuous
stream of high definition video with perfect HD picture quality over Internet2,"
said Michael Wellings, ResearchTV chief engineer at the University of
Washington, "The demanding data streams required by high definition video
have significantly tested the performance characteristics of Internet2
and pushed the boundaries of HDTV video distribution over the Internet.
With these tests we have seen the future and we know that with more work
this quality can be something everyone will be able to enjoy."