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Barcelona Opera House Uses ViewCast Niagara Encoders

Streams live operatic performances to students at more than 40 universities (March 22, 2005)

ViewCast Corporation today announced that Madrid-based Ambient Media supplied a Niagara 4115RW streaming video encoder to the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house in Barcelona for an educational and community outreach program. The Opera Oberta program goal is to provide accessibility of its performances to individuals -- young adults in particular -- who have limited or no opportunity to attend operas in person. To achieve this goal, the Opera Oberta program streams live operatic performances via the Internet to students at more than 40 universities as part of the curriculum for an opera-themed class.

"We think that using the World Wide Web to stream opera performances directly to young people, who rarely present at opera houses, is an excellent way for us to circumvent the physical limitations students have in attending the Gran Teatre del Liceu," said Ŕngel Fernández, the Liceu's IT manager and leader of new technology projects. "The Niagara 4115RW was a good solution for us because the Liceu's audio and video system is a professional environment, and ViewCast's encoder permitted us to easily, reliably, and cost-effectively convert from professional digital formats to low-bandwidth Internet formats."

The Gran Teatre del Liceu and its partners, including Spain's Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, decided to launch the Opera Oberta project in May 2001. Shortly thereafter, on Dec. 18, it broadcasted the opera "La Traviata" live to several universities. Positive feedback encouraged the Liceu to expand the program, and it launched the first university-course program during the 2002-2003 academic year, with 13 participating schools and an average attendance of 1,800 students per broadcast. The number of participating universities expanded to 27 in 2003-2004, and to more than 40 in the current school year.

Five opera performances, with subtitles in multiple languages, are now retransmitted live in high-quality 8-Mbps video and 640-kbps Dolby Digital-AC3 surround-sound audio as part of the Opera Oberta's course. This quality provides the universities with the capability of projecting the video on a large screen for students to enjoy the opera in a specially equipped hall. The audio and video highlights of each opera are also streamed in a lower-quality Windows Media or Real format on the Opera Oberta Internet site, Each performance is introduced with a brief educational program, and after the show, students can access the Web site for complementary materials.

The Liceu uses the Niagara 4115RW encoder to digitize opera video and audio contents for Opera Oberta and other Internet-related projects. The opera house, reconstructed following a fire in 1994, has world-class information technology facilities, including a video-editing station that it originally used for the Opera Oberta project. When this equipment proved to be too slow and expensive for continued use, the Liceu turned to Ambient Media, which equipped the theater with ViewCast's user-friendly, cost-effective encoder. Ambient provided the 4115RW ready to go with software and hardware pre-installed.

The ViewCast Niagara family of streaming video encoders and servers provide reliable, pre-configured, plug-and-play solutions for broadcasting premium-quality audio and video over the Internet. Award-winning, industry-leading Osprey streaming video capture cards are integrated into the powerful, reliable, and cost-effective Niagara platforms, which are supported by Niagara SCX software for full-featured remote workflow automation and control.

"The Gran Teatre del Liceu has undertaken a very interesting educational and community outreach program, and our Niagara encoders are an excellent solution for the theater's need to digitize live operatic performances," said Horace Irwin, vice president of business development and marketing at ViewCast. "We are delighted to contribute to the success of the Opera Oberta project as it gains momentum in the community."

About the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Founded in 1847 on Barcelona's La Rambla, the Gran Teatre del Liceu is an opera house that has retained its role as a culture and arts center throughout its history and one that represents one of the symbols of the city. Today, it is a publicly owned theater -- by the Catalan Regional Government, Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council, and the Ministry of Culture -- under the administration of the Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu, which, besides the above institutions, incorporates the Patronage Committee and the old Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Visit the Liceu's Web site at and the Opera Oberta project Web site at for more information

About ViewCast
ViewCast® develops video and audio communications products for delivering content dynamically via a variety of network types and protocols. These products include Osprey® Video capture cards, Niagara® video encoders/servers, and ViewCast IVN enterprise software and systems. ViewCast products address the video capture, processing, and delivery requirements for a broad range of applications and markets. ViewCast also provides professional IT services focused on merged data and video networks through its wholly owned subsidiary Delta Computec Inc.

Visit the company's Web site ( for more information.


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Related Keywords:ViewCast, Niagara, Encoders, Ambient Media, 4115RW, video encoder, streaming, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Opera Oberta, Ŕngel Fernández, Niagara 4115RW, Dolby Digital, AC3 surround-sound, Windows Media, Real, Osprey, Niagara SCX, Horace Irwin, Delta Computec,

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