Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Philips back in content-related technologies

On Thursday Royal Philips Electronics will announce the distribution a content-related technology, protecting copyright on video, according to a press release of AP. The technology will indicate the origin of video or music. Using this technology YouTube could have identified the 30.000 videos Google removed as it was unclear about the origin. For Philips the launching is remarkable as the company had moved away from content and content-related technologies since 1996.

Philips will launch MediaHedge, an anti-piracy tool designed to help sift through the growing volume of online video files. Philips works together with a number of partners. The system works by checking the digital "fingerprint" or unique characteristics of video files and looking for a match in Philips' database of video content. The service can spot a match even if the video file is degraded, altered or amounts to a small slice of the original video, according to Philips Content Identification, a unit of the Netherlands' Philips Electronics NV. Copyright holders can specify in advance whether they want to allow videos containing their footage to be posted on sites running MediaHedge, or whether they should be blocked or otherwise restricted.

The move of Philips has a history. It was after a major study into the future direction of Philips that the Dutch consumer electronic company started to move out of content and content-related technologies. So the company started to sell off all the CD-I technology and assets in 1996, which ended up with Infogrammes, and in 1998 its music division Polygram, which was sold to Universal. The reasoning was that Philips as a consumer electronic company should be a manufacturers and not a content producer. It would give Philips the freedom to manufacture devices regardless of copyright issues. And the policy proved to work when the mp3 music devices became trendy.

From 1996 Philips started to invest heavily in health devices. But it still was producing television, telco as well as video and music equipment. The introduction of the DVD player was typically such an event. And as a responsible company, Philips started to develop content-related technology, especially anti-piracy tools like MediaHedge.

Tags: content

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