Video finds niche at CES

There are enough companies trying to tap into the booming interest in internet video to form their own little clique at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

There are enough companiestrying totap into the booming interest in internet videoto form their own little clique at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

At least three have made announcementsaimed at the phenomenon represented by operations like YouTube, where thousands of users post videos daily for public viewing.

At CES onWednesday:

  • Redback Networks, which makes routers for IP networks, said it had hired a video pioneerto develop software so telephone companiescanspeed up the delivery of high-bandwidth video.
  • Akimbo, which delivers videos on demand to TVs over the internet, said it has added aselection of videos posted on Yahoo toits lineup.

A day earlier, Sling Media Inc. said it is developing a product that will allow users of its Slingbox product to record and share "short segments" of live or recorded programs with just a few clicks.

Sling made a splash in 2005 withSlingbox, a device that gives users access to their home TV from anywhere that has a digital broadband connection.

Now its"Clip+Sling" product is in beta testing, which means it's close towidespread release.

"How many times have you been watching one of your favorite shows or a big sporting event and couldn't believe what you had just seen and wished there was a way to share that moment with others?"Blake Krikorian, co-founder, chairman and CEO ofthe company, said in a release.

Akimbo aiming for 200-300 videos

Akimbo had about 100 user-generated videos availablea day after startup, a spokesman said, butisaiming for a changing poolof 200 to 300 items.

It plans to have three channels:

  • Featured videos, submitted by users and picked by Yahoo editors.
  • The most popular of theweek from Yahoo.
  • All-time favourites.

Akimbo, which charges subscribers $9.99 US a month for a subscription tomore than14,000 movies, TV showsand specialized videos, said Yahoo posts "hundreds of millions of music, news, sports, movies and television videos per month."

Redback said it has hired Alan Lippman as chief video architect and director of technology planning. Redback helped invent streaming audio and video products for Real Networks,which have been downloaded hundreds of millions of times.

All the announcements are aimed at tapping intothe burgeoning consumer interest in creating, recording and posting video on the web. YouTube, which Google bought for $1.65 billion US last fall, is a leading company in the area.

Boon for current customers

The announcements at CES, where companies vie for public and media attention with their newest technologies, are another indication of thebusiness interest in video.

Buttwo of the announcements relate tocurrent customers. Akimbo's is an addition forexisting customers. Sling said users will need a Slingbox to publish clips,although once on the web, thecontent will be accessible by anyone.

The Slingbox, a TV-top device that looks like an ingot of metal, made a hit because it enabled viewers toaccess their home satellite or cable TV systems from work, school or on a road trip through PCs, Macs,devices like BlackBerriesand some cellphones.

The Clip+Sling feature will be built intothe desktop and mobile versions of SlingPlayer software, the company said.

Clip+Sling is being tested privately, but Sling is accepting applications for the beta test as it is expanded in the United States.

Earlier this week,Sling introduced theSlingCatcher, which allows streaming from a computer to a television through a wireless connection.