Forbidden anticipated the consumer web player experience – full frame rate video playback in a browser without installation or configuration.
Our first public example, back in 2001, with 100,000 views within hours, noticeably impacted the UK internet of the time. Still pre-YouTube and Facebook, our 24/7 live video stream of Wimbledon Town Centre, released in 2003, had over a million hits a month.
Some digital viewing issues are fixed simply by the application of bandwidth: the abomination of buffering during playback, and writing frustratingly blurred into oblivion.
But one issue is so intractable that it has persisted despite a 1000 times increase in internet speed.
The linear TV mindset has driven mainstream thought. Consumers started a video at the beginning and watched through to the end. Much later (broadcast TV moves slowly) you were allowed to pause, rewind and fast forward. Now, with all the advantages of the internet, you can basically do… the same thing.
And this brings me to the main area for improvement: Navigation.
High frame rate playback backwards and forwards makes it significantly quicker to skip through video. This is particularly needed where you need to locate specific content in a frame accurate way. Examples of this include where there is high volume video content such as footage shot to make factual programmes, reality TV and security videos, where much of the time nothing interesting is happening.
Even simple video players support jog and shuttle. With jog, you move a pointer to go to a corresponding frame. Running the pointer backwards and forwards plays video frames as you move the pointer. Effectiveness depends on responsiveness – the pointer and frame must correspond. In shuttle, the playback speed corresponds to the pointer position. The further the position from the centre, the faster the playback. Supported since videotape recorders (VTRs), even these elementary capabilities are hard to implement well when the video is thousands of miles away in the cloud – but this is no excuse not to do a good job.
Video navigation has another challenge: an hour of video has 100,000 frames, much more than the number of pixels on a scroll bar.
Forbidden’s player provides the unique and patented Video Waveform. This summarises the content at all time scales – zoom out to navigate programmes on a 24/7 live news feed, and a mid level zoom allows you to navigate between different scenes. Zoom in for frame accurate access to the line call in a fast moving tennis match, or the blood spatter in Game of Thrones.
Forbidden’s rich editing knowhow, with its engagement and control, delivers a powerful new style of video player.
As Henry Ford said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. In a world of faster horses, Forbidden is using enabling standards to provide unrivalled access and flexibility with its new Video Player.
Stephen B Streater
Founder and Director of R&D