Microsoft announces streaming beta, ISMA formed

In a keynote address at Streaming Media West 2000 in San Jose, California, Microsoft President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said Windows Media Audio and Video 8 represents quality improvements of as much as 30 per cent over previous compression technologies, Microsoft said in a news release.

For example, Windows Media Video 8 digital media compression technology crosses the 500Kbps threshold, enabling the delivery of film content at near-DVD (digital versatile disc) quality, the release said. Windows Media Audio 8 achieves similar improvements, offering near-CD quality sound at 48Kbps, which enables file sizes almost one-third the size of MP3-formatted music of similar audio quality, Microsoft said.

Windows Media Audio and Video 8 is fully compatible with existing Windows Media Players including version 6.4 and 7, and Windows Media Audio 8 offers integrated digital rights management technology.

Ballmer said Windows Media Player 8 will be one of the digital media features of the next version of Windows, code-named "Whistler." For business customers who want to make more extensive use of streaming media, Ballmer showed a pre-release version of Windows Media Producer, a tool that provides "knowledge workers" an intuitive way to create and publish rich media content.

Ballmer also announced the immediate availability of Windows Media Player 7 for the Pocket PC. The software offers users the ability to download and play Windows Media Audio and Video content. Users will be able to download videos such as news clips, music videos and Windows Media and MP3 music from the Web directly onto their Pocket PC.

In addition, Ballmer unveiled the first CD player to support the Windows Media audio format. The new Kenwood DPC-MP727 portable CD player can deliver more than 22 hours of CD-quality music on a single recorded CD, Microsoft said.

While Microsoft promoted its own media streaming standard, Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Kasenna, Philips Electronics and Sun Microsystems announced the founding of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA). The five companies said they were joining forces to promote open standards for developing end-to-end media streaming solutions over IP (Internet protocol). The founders believe their collaboration will accelerate adoption of open standards and interoperability, while encouraging the development of competitive streaming media software.

"We are not trying to create standards. We are trying to agree on which ones to use," said Michael Frendo, vice president of Cisco's Technology Centre.

The promise of streaming media can be realised only if there is a single standard for consumers, service providers, network operators, equipment suppliers and content providers, William J. Raduchel, chief technology officer of America Online, said in a release. AOL, whose plans to merge with Time Warner could be approved by government regulators any day, is interested in standards for media streaming to ease the distribution of content.

The cost of deploying streaming media services to support current disparate formats has prohibited many service providers and other adopters from taking full advantage of existing market opportunities, according to ISMA. The alliance plans to adopt elements of standards that already exist for the deployment of streaming media over IP and contribute to those still in development.

The first specification from the ISMA will define an implementation agreement for the streaming MPEG-4 video and audio format over IP networks and will be circulated for review and input at the first formal meeting of ISMA in February 2001.

Upon completion of the specifications, the ISMA will promote them among developers and those seeking to deploy rich media streaming solutions. In addition to the founding companies, several companies are named in the release as supporters of ISMA, including Analog Devices, Axis Communications and Silicon Graphics.

Frendo said RealNetworks, whose streaming software leads the market, has been invited to join the ISMA.

"This alliance is open to anyone who wants to join," Frendo said. "It would be an asset to have RealNetworks on board.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Margret Johnston

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?