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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 1, 2002

Outrigger live videos to debut on Web site

By Katherine Nichols
Advertiser Staff Writer

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts said it will pay $1 million to a California company to install a network of cameras at 20 beachfront hotels to broadcast live video via the Outrigger Web site.

Chris Carmichael, chairman of XS Network, inspects the digital broadcast system recently installed on the roof of the Outrigger Reef Hotel on Waikiki Beach. The system supports a live digital webcam that can stream broadcast-quality images at up to 30 frames per second.

Outrigger Hotels and Resorts photo

"It's about making marketing more personal," said Outrigger Hotels president and chief executive David Carey. Leisure customers can experience the destination immediately on their desktops, he added.

Outrigger started Hawai'i's first commercial Web site in September 1994. Eight years and a few fiberoptic cables later, Carey is providing what he describes as a "service our competitors are not providing" with the web cameras.

The cameras are being installed by XS Network, Inc. a privately held marketing and broadcast distribution company based in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

The first camera, atop the Outrigger Reef Hotel at Waikiki, went live yesterday. Outrigger plans to add cameras at its other Hawai'i properties this year and connect its other Pacific and Australia hotels next year.

Outrigger's $1 million investment covers at least one digital broadcast-quality camera as well as labor, servers and wiring for each of 20 Outrigger resort properties due to get the systems.

According to XS Network chairman Chris Charmichael, Outrigger will eventually blend the live camera with high-speed internet access and other wireless usages to every hotel room.

"What's unique about this is the speed and clarity," said Carey, who said the digital webcams also can be remotely programmed to pan, tilt, zoom and scan up to 180 degrees. Live footage will broadcast at 30 frames per second. Web sites that offer live footage often stream at only 1 to 5 frames per second, and don't use digital cameras or broadband satellite networks.