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The PRESTO project, developing cost-effective technology and processes for audiovisual media, completed its work in October 2002. A project started in February 2004 to extend this approach outside broadcasting, to all collections of audio, video and film. That project is PrestoSpace. While PRESTO identified the major problem of access to audiovisual material, it concentrated on solving the technical issue of reducing the cost of preservation transfers.

PrestoSpace looks at preservation and access together: using preservation work to provide new means of access; using enhanced access to provide new funding for preservation.

The problem PRESTO addressed: The project found 5 million hours of media in 10 broadcast archives, and found that 70% of it was at risk -- because it was decaying, fragile or on obsolete media. We estimated the total amount of at-risk material, in Europe, was in the region of 50 million hours. The total bill for transferring this material to new media is in the region of €10 billion. Presto documented a method of saving up to 50% of that amount.

Main result of PRESTO: The key to reducing costs without sacrificing quality is mass-transfers of material, using a ‘preservation factory’. Software is needed to track all items moving through the factory, to eliminate manual effort wherever possible. The factory approach, compared to conventional item-by-item preservation work, reduces costs by AT LEAST 50% -- and some PRESTO partners have demonstrated reductions of up to 75%.

Additional technology developed by PRESTO

PRESTO identified 12 key links in the workflow (production chain) for transferring from old audiovisual media to knew -- for both radio and television archives. The new technology either reduces costs or increases the benefit of the whole transfer chain – or both.


Audio Playback

Audio Quality Control

Audio Lossless Compression


Playback device improvement

Digitisation quality monitoring

Time base corrector with drop out detection and compensation

Multi-level encoding



Alternative film handling

High-quality Format Converter

Lossless compression for film (and video)

                        Metadata management

Common access to broadcast archives (Broadcast OPAC)

A full set of project download deliverables are available here Projects.

State of the art technology under development with the Partners.

Download free reports on the current state of the archives, and new preservation technology.

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Preservation Technology for European Broadcast Archives