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First Streaming, Interactive 3-D Photorealistic Images for the WWW


OLiVR Corporation, a new company dedicated to improving the interactivity of Web content, today introduced OLiVR (for "On-Line Interactive Virtual Reality"), the first media type and suite of production, viewing and server tools to provide progressively streaming, 3-D photorealistic movies for the Web. OLiVR movies instantly deliver high-quality interactivity on the Web, enabling for the first time the use of 3-D photorealistic images in a variety of applications, such as branded product or company advertising, catalogs, online displays, and demonstrations of merchandise, software, or other goods and services.

"OLiVR is the first compression and enabling technology to optimize the multimedia experience in today's narrowband world of 14.4 Kb modems," said Richard Levandov, president of OLiVR, and a former vice president at America Online and co-founder of Phoenix Technologies. "We believe this revolutionary new technology will usher in a new generation of truly interactive Web sites. While Java and ShockWave are interactive, and RealAudio and VDO are streaming, only OLiVR movies are both interactive and streaming."

Unlike text, bit-mapped images, audio or video, OLiVR is the first new media type designed from the ground up for the interactive world of the Web. OLiVR relies on its patented Fractal Wavelet imaging and Internet protocol technologies to make interaction with OLiVR movies immediate, without any download wait. OLiVR images download progressively, displaying images of higher and higher resolution as the download continues. However, OLiVR images can be viewed and manipulated by the user immediately -- and can be seen clearly, even when only a fraction of the image has loaded. Using any standard Web browser along with the OLiVR Viewer, which is available as a free download from OLiVR's Web site, users can pan, zoom, rotate or manipulate the image instantly, without waiting for the download to complete.

"OLiVR's unique combination of streaming interactivity and 3-D photorealism make it a compelling new way to develop high impact Web content," said John Robb, Internet analyst for interactive technology at Forrester Research. "Web site developers and advertisers will find OLiVR a great way to radically improve the impact of their graphics and provide bandwidth agility to Web content."

The OLiVR patented fractal technology synthesizes multiple compression types, dramatically enhancing the Web's streaming capabilities, and bringing compelling content instantly onto a Web page even over current low-bandwidth modem and phone lines. OLiVR's Fractal Wavelet technology features scalable resolution slicing, progressive resolution rendering, high-quality zooming and precise bit-rate control, critical elements for successful Internet streaming applications. By using OLiVR, Web designers can post a single high-resolution virtual reality movie on their Web page for interaction via the full spectrum of Internet connections from 14.4K to cable modems. OLiVR also offers multimedia integration with its 3-D images, allowing designers to embed audio and video clips with the OLiVR movie.

"We believe the industry is excited about OLiVR because it is the first new Net- appropriate media type that enables Web developers to create a whole new genre of compelling content," said Jacob Guedalia, CEO of OLiVR and former founder of Age Computational Graphics Ltd. (now VDOnet). "Our advanced Fractal Wavelet compression technology allows the display of VR movies in real-time, freeing the user from waiting for downloads. Three-dimensional photorealistic images that are immediately available on the Net represent a new media type that raises the bar of interactivity on the Web. This is the instant gratification that users will increasingly demand."

Of great interest to developers of multimedia content, OLiVR supports movies developed in Apple's QuickTime VR (QTVR) format, which can be easily converted to the OLiVR format. This means that developers can easily bring rich new Net-appropriate interactive functionality to the largest library of digital multimedia movie content currently available. By converting their files into the OLiVR format and streaming them over the Web, QTVR movie producers can eliminate their need for a full, time-consuming download before being able to view them.

Another Web advancement, OLiVR's real time content technology, allows either the user or the server to dynamically change movie elements. This provides flexibility for users to see exactly what they want by selecting choices of the image in mid-stream, for example, the color of fashion items or products, and for content publishers to show their product differently at different times. The OLiVR Server is particularly useful in tracking user preferences and building dynamically generated, personalized web pages based on analyses of previous user behavior.

Web developers, advertising agencies, programmers and content providers, such as newspapers and movie companies, will be able to build OLiVR movies for:

-- Interactive advertising -- Media-rich news and entertainment content -- Consumer applications -- On-line catalogs and shopping malls -- Movie promotions -- Fashion and car shows

OLiVR embraces and extends the Internet's open standards, such as Netscape LiveConnect and Microsoft ActiveX and Apple's QuickTime VR (QTVR), through a combination of new features and its unique progressively streaming technology.

OLiVR: Bandwidth Solution for VR Movies

The initial application, the OLiVR Production Toolkit, allows developers to create and stitch images together to create 3-D objects and panoramas; incorporate other media (i.e. audio, video, text); create hot spots; link to other web pages, movies, or media clips; script user interaction; and generate an OLiVR movie file which can be published on the Web, CD-ROM or hard disk. OLiVR's advanced server software allows a developer to build a fully interactive VR "world" or environment, such as a shopping mall, where shoppers may browse through merchandise in full photorealistic 3-D detail, or an on-line fashion show or automobile showcase where users will be able to choose and change product features displayed on the fly.

Pricing and Availability

OLiVR Viewer: Required for accessing an OLiVR movie, the OLiVR Viewer is free and available at The current OLiVR Beta Viewer is a plug-in software program for Netscape Navigator 2.0 and above and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, running on either Windows 95 or Windows NT. Macintosh versions of the OLiVR Viewer will ship in Q4.

OLiVR Production Toolkit: Available now from the company in the Beta version, the OLiVR Production Toolkit will ship in Q4 for Windows 95, Windows NT and Macintosh. The product will be priced at $495.

OLiVR Server: Designed for the production Web site, the OLiVR Server adds major back-end functionality to the progressively rendered, interactive display of streaming OLiVR movies. Features include: server independence; advanced object-oriented database functionality; real time content for dynamically streamed variable photo features; user preference database; Java scripting; Hot Spot image mapping; and streamed links among OLiVR movies and other media types. Available by the end of Q4 for Windows NT, all UNIX platforms or Macintosh, OLiVR Server license pricing will start at $2,500.


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