87.6 F
San Fernando
Friday, Sep 30, 2022
-Advertisement-

Taking a Sneak Peek Into Anti-Piracy Technology

Call it a technology trunk show. Or the entertainment and media world’s equivalent of looking over a concept car a sneak peek at products under development but not yet ready for release to the marketplace. Rather than four wheels and a souped-up engine, the technology division of Thomson SA pulled back the wraps on content security and management products, compression technologies and decoding chips at its corporate research center in Burbank. For two days in November, entertainment industry executives and media saw demonstrations of nine areas of research done in Thomson facilities in the U.S., Europe and China. Only one is nearing use for outside companies. The purpose of the demonstrations was to get feedback from those whose companies will use the products. These previews are not only a smart business decision for Thomson but a smart industry decision. “We are in the business of coming up with the latest widget that can be widely adopted throughout the industries,” said Nicholas de Wolff, chief marketing officer for the Technology Division. “By tapping into the knowledge base of all our businesses, we can stay a step ahead.” Making its research available at industry trade shows is a recent development for France-based Thomson. The Technology Thought Trust event in Burbank was the first of its kind. The technology division is one of three that comprises Thomson which is itself divided into four business units: corporate research, software and technology solutions, silicon solutions, and intellectual property and licensing. It’s a division with fewer products to sell but just as many successes to promote, said one division official. Innovation has been in the Thomson’s blood for decades, either on its own or through the companies it acquires, the most well-known being Technicolor. Thomson also owns camera and post-production equipment manufacturer Grass Valley. Only some of the company’s research centers focus exclusively on media, entertainment and communications technologies. Its work in developing consumer electronics products gave researchers a knowledge base to come up with new components for those products. Because Thomson makes products or develops services directly impacting every point along the chain of image development we are able to provide insight that others can’t, de Wolff said. “We are able to move very quickly for a large corporation,” he added. The Next Generation So what was on Thomson’s plate at the Technology Thought Trust? One nifty item was the graphic video processor that converts film images into a stylized video with an animated quality similar to that used by director Richard Linklater in his films “A Scanner Darkly” and “Waking Life.” The Grass Valley business unit will initially integrate the system into its equipment with future plans to sell the software to consumers so they can undertake the conversion process on home videos. The NexCode High Definition Encoder compresses video data onto a single disc without losing any quality. Unique to the software is the ability to go directly to a scene for comparisons between the compressed version and the original version; and graphs allowing for easier changing of the encoding pattern. Technicolor used the compression process on several films released this year and Thomson expects to make the software available to outside companies by the end of the year or early in 2008. The compression system targets duplicators of HD DVD and Blu-Ray discs. Also demonstrated at the event were new security measures including watermarking and fingerprints. As physical media transitions to becoming totally digital, anti-piracy protection becomes more crucial, said Hassan Triqui, vice president of sales for the software and technology solutions business unit. “We can bring value through security and value through the simplification of workflow distribution,” Triqui said. The NexGuard watermarking solution prevents illegal copying and distribution of content via Internet Protocol (IP) television, satellite or cable. NexTracker is non-intrusive fingerprinting technology used to identify and track copyrighted material available online, including that distributed on user-generated content and peer-to-peer sites. Feedback Loop For all the money and time spent by the technology division, its research is not done in a vacuum. That is a useless exercise, said de Wolff, and the greatest benefit that Thomson brings to the industry is to make its media and communications clients understand why they need to move in a certain direction. At the same time, those clients tell the company what they need so that research can be re-directed into areas that result in services and products that are useful. But in coming up with new products and services, the division has to make sure that they fit in with all of its business units, de Wolff said. “If we are doing it right internally, we are continually developing technologies with great external value,” de Wolff said. “That is why our partners rely on us.”

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-