Electronic Cafe Showcase @ Viacom

Electronic Cafe Showcase @ Viacom  
Broadcast date: 11/18/1993

The Electronic Cafe International Showcase @ Viacom was a pilot Interactive TV event that took place in New York City, Santa Monica, CA, London, England, Miami, Florida, Castro Valley, CA, and Nickelodeon Studios, Orlando, Fla. Each location was connected via ISDN (for audio) and T1 (for video), enabling live events to be conducted simultaneously in multiple locations.

Simon Higgs applied his telecommunications and internet skills to the event's set up, but on the day of the broadcast he found himself the master controller of the live video feed being broadcast from Santa Monica. The various events are described as follows:

Room To Room:  
People entering rooms in one city are able to schmooze with live, life-size images of people in the other cities.

Piano Duet:  
Jazz pianists Michal Cain (in New York), and James Carney (Santa Monica), perform together. Each played an electronic keyboard locally which sent MIDI information to the other location which activated a Yamaha Disklavier acoustic midi controlled piano in the other city .The musicians appeared together on the same screen in both locations.

VIP Speakers:  
New York, NY: Andy Zucker - Executive Director of The Academy Of Interactive Arts And Sciences

Santa Monica, CA: Dr. Brenda Laurel, author of Computers As Theater

Marin County, CA: Howard Rheingold, author of Virtual Reality.

Composite Image Space Performances:  
Composite Image Space performance choreographed entirely over the PictureTel video-conferencing system by Dawn Stoppiello and Mark Coniglio in Santa Monica and Illan in New York. Final performance performed live in Virtual Space via the CLI Compressed Motion Video System connected between New York and Santa Monica by a T-1 line. Performance included MIDI for MidiDancer music, Disklavier, and stage lighting controls. On screen in both NY & LA, Dawn (LA), Illan (NY) appear to be dancing in the same space. The Midi Dancer suit worn by Dawn in LA controls the music in NY. Music composition and programming, Mark Coniglio.

3000 miles apart, Dawn Stoppielo and Ilaan Egeland perform together.

Graham Nash in LA plays with violinist Todd Reynolds in NY. They meet for first time in composite image space and play together on one of Graham's new songs. Audio for Nash and all vocal musicians is processed through a ATP Audio Codec using three ISDN lines for CD quality sound.

Todd Reynolds and Graham Nash duet in cyberspace.

The MTV Dancers from New York and Santa Monica danced together for the first time via T1 (see sidebar).

From NY, Bob Holman performing a poem rap about ECI with Merilene M. Murphy in Santa Monica. They appeared together live on screen in both NY & LA.

Thomas Dolby:  
Performance of his wireless One-man Band, synthesizer/sequencer, voice. Dolby moves freely throughout the cafe while transmitting CD quality audio and T1 quality video.

The ECI-Viacom set took over The Lodge for three days in the Viacom building in NYC.   
The ECI-Viacom set took over The Lodge for three days in the Viacom building in NYC.


Two dancers.    
Two stages.    
3000 miles apart.    
One performance.


The two MTV Dance troups (East & West Coast) dance together for the first time.