IFA 2007 – BERLIN. The German public broadcaster ZDF and webTV facilities company TV1.de have joined forces to launch what they claim to be “Europe’s biggest web TV project”. With the re-launch of the ZDF Mediathek website, people can now catch up with programmes broadcast up to seven days previously. The technical backbone is the content delivery network (CDN) from Munich based TV1.de, and a number of streaming servers in connected datacenters will allow up to 20,000 demands of 1.5 Mbps each every second. During prime time, up to 46 Gbps may be played out.
Also new in the ZDF Mediathek is the availability in H.264 format alongside Windows Media Player, which was been used so far. Apart from on-demand content, ZDF also plans to offer synchronous streams of live broadcasts. The public broadcaster plans to offer both the Euro 2008 football competition, as well as the 2008 Olympics from Beijing in this way. Programmes will only be available in those countries in which ZDF owns the rights.
ZDF and TV1.de claim this is the biggest project of its kind, alongside the BBC efforts on the web. Remarkably, they call it an “IPTV project”, but while using IP for the delivery of the signal this is very much an open Internet project rather than a managed IPTV service. So perhaps web TV or Internet TV would be a better description of the service.
German IT firm Axinom developped a special version of the ZDF Mediathek for use with Windows Vista Media Center. The new online TV-Edition offer is part of the Vista Online Gallery for easy access. This is a screen shot of this edition.