from the May 2007 issue

SpeedBit's Incredible Shrinking Download

Downloading a movie or a TV episode over the Internet may become a reality in the near future. SpeedBit an Israeli startup called says it has devised a solution that can dramatically accelerate video downloading over the Net-even with a high-speed Net connection. A full-length movie clocking in at 1.5 gigabytes still takes hours to buy and download.

SpeedBit, based in Herzliya and Haifa, is about to present its novel video accelerator. Chief Technology Officer Idan Feigenbaum said, thatSpeedBit has managed to shrink the download time for a full-length feature to about 40 minutes over a 5 Megabit-per-second (Mbps) Internet connection. At the higher speeds available in some countries, that could be slashed to 20 minutes or less.

Reducing the time to download movies to around 15 minutes is expected to result in a big upsurge in penetration of this market.

That should also come as welcome news to big companies that have bet on Internet video. Retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT) launched its much-anticipated video download service in February, following the 2006 introduction of videos on Apple's (AAPL) iTunes. (AMZN) and Microsoft's (MSFT) MSN also now offer streaming or downloadable videos.

But Wal-Mart has reported that only 3,000 movies were downloaded in the first month of its service. And though Blockbuster (BBI) looks likely to introduce video downloads by the end of this year, it is already cautioning that the business probably won't take off for another year or two.

SpeedBit uses complex algorithms to optimize available bandwidth-in effect, downloading different chunks of a video simultaneously over multiple Internet connections, rather than in a single stream.

The technology behind the video accelerator was originally developed by SpeedBit to shorten software downloads. The company's Download Accelerator Plus (DAP) software program, introduced in 1999, has already amassed nearly 140 million users.

The company has been profitable nearly from its outset but will not reveal any further financial details.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report May 2007

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