Streaming through Play

Anyone wondering what happened to Play Industries could find the answer at last month's NAB show. The technology developed by the fun-loving people who gave us the Video Toaster (during their years at NewTek Video), the Trinity all-in-one live production system and GlobeCaster (a Trinity with IP video streaming) is now owned and marketed by GlobalStreams Inc.

In a flurry of deals in February, GlobalStreams, a St. Louis-based company that developed an online media guide to help broadband and DSL access providers promote and advertise programming, was bought by Play Streaming Media Group (PSMG), which had earlier bought Play's technology assets. The combined company, officially launched in March, retains the name GlobalStreams, has $22 million in new funding to drive growth and is now targeting the broadcast and streaming markets.

President and CEO Ted Briscoe explains that GlobalStreams had been focused exclusively on streaming live video events over the Internet for corporations and other enterprise clients. Acquiring Play's technology, he says, has allowed him to expand the company's opportunities.

Hoping to capitalize on this, GlobalStreams has worked out some software bugs in the Trinity/GlobeCaster product and will provide a modular suite of products under the GlobeCaster name. Whereas Play targeted video production and broadcasting, Briscoe is looking at corporate presentations and wedding videographers as well. The combined company will continue to offer live hosting services for businesses and broadcasters.

"The biggest thing we've done with GlobeCaster is to stabilize the platform itself," he says. "To be honest, there were some issues with the software. We've addressed those problems, released a new software code and made some enhancements based on customer feedback."

At NAB, the company showed different versions of the core GlobeCaster platform, addressing the major production-market segments. GlobeCaster Live, selling for $29,995, is a real-time, multilayered broadcast system that includes a four-input/three-output digital switcher with 3-D effects, a downstream keyer, a character generator and paint/compositing tools. At $34,995, GlobeCaster Post adds a dual linear/nonlinear editor. Priced at $79,995, the premiere GlobeCaster Studio incorporates all the company's technology into one system.

The company also announced at NAB that it will offer an upgrade kit to allow current Trinity owners to make the transition to GlobeCaster technology.

In the midst of much confusion and failure in the steaming business, GlobalStreams will have a tough job convincing customers that the technical issues that plagued Trinity (and saw its official release delayed several times) are in the past. There's also the challenge of making money on the Internet.

Although Briscoe is relying on Internet, he remains bullish on its long-term potential. "I'm sure it will grow. My business model is not dependent on its growing quickly. We plan to move with the market instead of trying to lead it."