June 21, 2007, 12:00 AM

Pando Networks launches grid-computing service for publishing online video

With more than 8 million consumers signed up for its free online video publishing service, Pando Networks launched today a commercial version that uses grid-computing to speed the delivery of video at less cost than traditional methods, the company says.

With more than 8 million people signed up for its free consumer online video publishing and sharing service, Pando Networks Inc. launched today a commercial version that uses grid-computing technology to speed the delivery of online high-definition video at less cost than traditional content delivery methods, founder and CEO Robert Levitan says.

Pando’s technology uses software that lets large numbers of users to simultaneously share computer processing power, enabling them to essentially view the same video files downloaded from a web site or streamed from a web server, says Levitan, who is the co-founder of iVillage.com, a social network and informational site designed for women and a unit of NBC Universal. This prevents content delivery problems caused by large numbers of consumers trying to download the same content at the same time, while saving the retailers or other content publishers the cost of extra bandwidth and content delivery services, he adds.

The grid-computing model supports the use of online video available directly from web sites as well as video distributed through e-mail, blogs and social networks, Levitan says.

“We’ve talked about this on a supercomputing level, and now it’s available for retailers as well as consumers,” Levitan says. “We’re using grid computing to facilitate social networking with high-definition video.”

To use Pando, content publishers as well as consumers download software that manages how content is distributed and shared. Michael Arrington, a web content analyst, writes in his blog TechCrunch.com that Pando’s software is easy to deploy and provides extremely fast video transmissions. He cautions that Pando will have to provide effective digital rights management software to protect proprietary content as it gets widely distributed. Levitan says the software will provide digital rights management as necessary.

Pando is releasing the commercial version of its software in stages. Starting today, it supports video distributed through RSS feeds, a process that delivers content directly to desktops and is also known as Really Simple Syndication. Over the next several weeks, it will also support integration with content delivery networks and allow retailers to insert video ads in online content, Levitan says.

Because of the way grid computing works, enabling users to share software and web content from other computers that have already downloaded the desired content, its effectiveness improves as more users participate, Levitan says. “The more people that have it, the faster the speed and the more reliable the content delivery.”

Pando will continue to make its software available for free to consumers and will charge commercial users about $5,000 per million deliveries of a 1 gigabyte video, Levitan says, adding: “Our goal is to eliminate 90%-95% of the cost of delivering online video.”



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