You've Got Broadband Content

Called AOL Plus, the service aims to juice the narrowband network with multimedia content, including streaming video programs from CBS MarketWatch and CNN, music from a new AOL Plus Radio player, and live concerts from the House of Blues.

"This is only the beginning," says Robert Harris, AOL's vice president of broadband strategy. Throughout the year AOL will upgrade its broadband content with pay-per-view concerts, video search, and videoconferencing.

Harris estimates close to 1 million of the 22 million AOL members will be able to take advantage of the enhanced service. AOL now competes more squarely with rival Excite@Home, which has a Web-based portal geared to users with high-speed connections to the Net.

AOL members will be able to check out a limited version of the service at no additional cost as it rolls out this week. AOL 5.0's "speed detect" feature will determine if you are connecting to AOL 5.0 over a cable, direct subscriber line, or satellite high-speed Internet connection.

If you connect to the Net at speeds greater than 150 kilobits per second, an "AOL Plus Tower" appears in the lower right side of your AOL screen. You are then prompted to download (one time only) an 8MB file containing the RealNetworks' RealPlayer video streaming client, Macromedia Flash, and IPix plug-ins.

After those are installed, the content and links change inside the AOL Plus Tower as you navigate different "channels" within the AOL network. Choose the AOL Travel Channel, for example, and the Plus Tower offers a short video segment on Las Vegas vacations. Select AOL Entertainment, and you can launch the AOL Plus Radio client or select from a number of music videos.

High-Speed AOL

At first AOL Plus content will start with features from a host of players, including AthletesDirect, CBS SportsLine, FOXNews.com, Travelocity.com and Weather.com.

AOL's Nullsoft division will chime in with its own AOL Plus Radio for broadband-enhanced music programming. Weather.com will feature five-day forecasts. Video sports highlights and team reports will come from CBS SportsLine, and AthletesDirect will supply interactive interviews.

Over the next several months, AOL Plus will expand to include shopping, games, autos, and real estate content.

Media-rich content will be hosted on AOL's network, ensuring optimum performance, Harris says. Streaming media content will also be jiggered to withstand bandwidth connections as fast a 400K bps (bits per second); however, it can also scale down to 150K-bps network limitations.

"People haven't had a really positive experience in the 28- and 56K-bps world (with multimedia content)," Harris says. "Our mission is to introduce a larger screen size and better video quality. The time is right now to start adding these features for AOL members."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Spring

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?