NetBlender wins Virtual Earth Madness contest by integrating map technology with DVD


Virtual Earth–Enhanced DVD applies Web 2.0 functionality to 18th Century viniculture tour

Last Updated: June 17, 2006 12:13 am GMT
(Alexandria, VA) Do you consider online maps revolutionary? Most people know they are useful for driving directions, but conventional maps have provided that service for years.

Enter "Virtual Earth Madness," a Microsoft-sponsored contest designed to push the limits of mapping technology while offering developers a forum for showcasing their best Web 2.0 applications. The contest recently announced a winner – an integration of Virtual Earth mapping technology with DVD-Video submitted by the development team at NetBlender, a startup software company in Alexandria, VA that creates platforms for convergent media.

"It was a tough decision with many of the entries that we received. That was until I received a DVD from Denny Breitenfeld from NetBlender. The application was incredible," writes Thom Robbins, developer and platform evangelist for Microsoft. "The application is a DVD tour of Thomas Jefferson’s trip to France to bring wine tasting to America. The interactive nature of the DVD was amazing. The key component for the contest was using the Virtual Earth."

The demo application works with an Emmy-nominated PBS Documentary, The Cultivated Life: Thomas Jefferson and Wine, which tells the story of Jefferson’s life-long passion for fine wine and his efforts to introduce a wine culture to the young United States.

Using a combination of NetBlender DVD enhancement software and Virtual Earth’s API, the DVD allows the viewer to watch the portion of the film that retraces Jefferson’s 1787 wine tour through France’s great wine regions, while a map of France is displayed simultaneously. As the film moves from region to region, the corresponding view of the map changes in synchronicity.

Additionally, the viewer can take control and manipulate the map view, by clicking on any of Jefferson’s tour stops which are marked with pushpins. When a pushpin is clicked the application cues the corresponding portion of the film from the DVD.

The result is a compelling application that combines two unrelated technologies - DVD video and Internet mapping – and displays them seamlessly for the viewer. A demonstration of the winning application can be found at:

Since the dawn of the Web, content creators of traditional media products, such as television programs, movies and documentaries, have relied on the Internet to enhance and promote their products. Only now are such products infusing the power of the Internet directly into their content, thus creating a vehicle for establishing an ongoing relationship among the content creators, advertisers and viewers.

And helping to drive these new products is NetBlender. The company’s core technology creates seamless integration, or "blending" of video and Internet-delivered content.

"The possibilities are endless," says John Harrington, CEO of NetBlender, "but they can also be dizzying for consumers and developers alike. What NetBlender provides is a unified framework for combining many forms of media across multiple devices in a manner that is coherent to the viewer."


NetBlender ( ) is fast becoming the dominant supplier of the technology, tools and services for converged high resolution video applications. The company licenses developer tools for the creation of next generation interactive media.


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