RealNetworks, Envivio team on mobile MPEG-4

RealNetworks Inc. and MPEG-4 specialist Envivio Inc. will together develop and sell a media encoder aimed at the mobile phone industry, the companies said Monday.

The product, Helix Mobile Producer powered by Envivio, will allow mobile phone operators and content providers to create audio and video files that can be played on mobile handsets. It is due out in the first quarter of next year, RealNetworks and Envivio said in a statement.

Helix Mobile Producer powered by Envivio will offer live and on-demand encoding and support standards, such as MPEG-4, that have the approval of the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) and the 3GPP2 (Third Generation Partnership Project 2), according to the statement. 3GPP and 3GPP2 are groups setting standards for 3G (third-generation) mobile telephony.

MPEG-4 is a multimedia coding standard. It succeeds MPEG-2 and will first be used on the Internet. MPEG-4 promises a much better picture at lower bit rates than is common today and is also expected to be used in many devices, including TV set-top boxes and mobile phones.

Envivio, based in San Francisco, was spun out of France Telecom SA in 1999. The company last year introduced its first MPEG-4 application suite and sells mainly to the broadcast, cable network, and content developer markets. RealNetworks, in Seattle, is best known for its PC media player software.

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Joris Evers

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