Microsoft Introduces NetShow, A Platform for Delivering Multimedia Content Over Intranets

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 16, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft® NetShow, an open software platform for basic delivery of live and on-demand multimedia content over corporate networks. NetShow enables business users to provide audio and video in online training and communications materials, using minimal network bandwidth. Many leading hardware, software and service firms are offering network components, compression technologies, authoring tools, administration utilities, applications and services that build on the NetShow platform to deliver end-to-end networked multimedia solutions.

“Our goal is to provide a standards-based platform for one-to-many transmission of live and stored multimedia content over today’s networks,”
said Craig Mundie, senior vice president of the consumer platforms division at Microsoft.
“By adding these capabilities to our core operating systems, we are providing an infrastructure for multimedia services, allowing other vendors to focus on adding their unique value to the platform.”

“We believe that NetShow is an important step for the industry,” said Rob Glaser, CEO of Progressive Networks Inc. “With 10 million RealAudio Players in distribution and thousands of Web sites using RealAudio, we look forward to working with Microsoft to enhance multimedia on intranets.”

NetShow facilitates efficient utilization and management of network bandwidth in a number of ways. For live transmissions, it uses IP multicasting to distribute audio and data files over multicast-enabled corporate networks, allowing one-to-many simultaneous transmission of data using the amount of network bandwidth normally used to send to only one client. For on-demand delivery, NetShow provides the ability to author content at different bit rates. It also includes simple server administration tools that allow management control over network bandwidth usage.

“Multicasting is a critical functionality required to operate multimedia applications efficiently on networks,”
said Stu Phillips, vice president of IOS software engineering at Cisco Systems.
“NetShow takes advantage of the multicasting technology offered through our Cisco IOS software-enabled infrastructure, and provides an incentive to corporations to turn on multicast capabilities already deployed in their intranets.”

NetShow stores and streams audio, video and illustrated audio. Illustrated audio consists of images such as bitmaps, Web pages or presentation slide images, synchronized along a common time line with a continuous audio stream. NetShow includes a simple graphical editor for creating illustrated audio content, as well as tools for converting existing content in popular formats (JPEG, DIB, WAV, AVI and QuickTime).

“Illustrated audio is the perfect medium for combining audio and still images into informative presentations that can be viewed on demand at any time, even over low-speed network connections,”
said Carl Lehmann, an analyst with META Group.
“With NetShow, corporations can deliver executive speeches, training and reference materials in a compelling and cost-effective medium.”

NetShow includes server components for the Windows NT® Server network operating system and client software for the Windows® 95 operating system and Windows NT Workstation, as well as simple authoring tools and administration utilities. Its programming interfaces and ActiveX Controls provide a platform for third-party development of applications, tools and content. Microsoft is working with leading network hardware and software companies that will offer system components, tools and services that build on the NetShow platform. These companies include: 3Com Corp., Aimtech Corp., Ascend Communications Inc., Asymetrix Corp., Bay Networks Inc., Cabletron Systems Inc., Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., Digital Equipment Corp., Digital Renaissance Inc., Eastman

“Video is a very powerful way of communicating over the network,” said Asaf Mohr, president and CEO of VDOnet. “We will continue to work closely with Microsoft to grow the use of multimedia in corporations. We plan to take advantage of Microsoft’s NetShow platform to reinforce VDOLive’s leading position in video for the Internet.”

Microsoft NetShow joins NetMeeting conferencing software, which ships with Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, in Microsoft’s family of networked multimedia technologies. NetMeeting delivers interpersonal and group communications and collaboration with standards-based voice and data conferencing capabilities. NetShow adds live and stored one-to-many multimedia transmissions, using today’s network infrastructure.

A beta release of Microsoft NetShow is available now at no cost from the World Wide Web at . The final release is scheduled to be available on the Internet by the end of the year and will be included in future releases of Microsoft Internet Information Server and Windows NT Server. See the Microsoft NetShow product demonstration at NetWorld+Interop in Booth 6020 in the G Exhibit Hall at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Sept. 18-20.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT, Windows, ActiveX and NetMeeting are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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