Microsoft Announces Immediate Availability of NetShow 2.0 Beta; Brings Multimedia Broadcast and Communication To the Internet and Intranets

REDMOND, Wash., March 10, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate, worldwide, free availability of NetShow
2.0 beta software. Building on the open, standards-based platform established with NetShow networked multimedia software version 1.0, NetShow 2.0 provides an easy, powerful way to stream multimedia content across the Internet and intranets. NetShow 2.0 allows developers and Web professionals to add production-scale audio and video broadcasts to any Web application or site. NetShow 2.0 now delivers the following:

  • Powerful broadcast system. NetShow 2.0 delivers a complete, high-performance system for broadcasting live and on-demand audio, video and mixed multimedia.

  • Ease of use and reduced cost of ownership. NetShow 2.0 reduces the total cost of streaming multimedia because of its tight integration and inclusion with Microsoft® Internet Information Server and the Microsoft Windows NT® Server network operating system. Standard programming tools and languages can be used to create and host content.

  • High-quality audio and video over the Internet. NetShow 2.0 enables high-quality content generation and streaming with new, next-generation MPEG compression technology.

  • Rich, synchronized multimedia experience. NetShow 2.0 enables live and on-demand streaming of audio and video synchronized with pictures (JPEG, BMP, GIF files) as well as script (Jscript
    and ActiveX
    script), URLs and text. The result is a compelling mixed-media experience.

“Microsoft believes that the Internet is the medium for rich communication of all kinds, not just textual Web pages or simple audio,” said Paul Maritz, group vice president, platforms and applications at Microsoft. “With the Internet and intranets moving rapidly from text and graphics to highly interactive multimedia, NetShow, along with NetMeeting
, allows the richest possible exchange of information. Our corporate customers will use NetShow 2.0 to deliver training and broadcast meetings and speeches over their intranets. NetShow 2.0 will be used by our Internet customers to deliver Web-based radio and TV broadcasts as well as advertisements.”

Powerful System for Creating and Delivering Multimedia Content

Developers and Web professionals will find it easy to develop interactive multimedia content for NetShow 2.0. Using NetShow 2.0, developers can reduce training expenses by taking advantage of their existing knowledge of Microsoft and third-party multimedia authoring tools.

Once content is created, developers can rely on NetShow 2.0 because it is built on the reliability, scalability, manageability and security inherent in the Windows NT Server platform. NetShow 2.0 also makes it easy and inexpensive to deliver live events for a variety of applications, including training, corporate communications, Web advertising and entertainment.

NetShow 2.0 delivers streaming multimedia to a variety of browsers and applications, including Microsoft Internet Explorer. NetShow client software will be included in the next major version of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Open, Standards-Based Platform

NetShow technology is built on open industry standards. It ships with more than
15 popular compression/decompression technologies (codecs) and allows developers to use any codec that supports the ACM/VCM standards. Its support for MPEG 2 layer 3 and next-generation MPEG video codecs enables higher-quality compression and delivery of rich audio and video streams. NetShow supports the ASF file format, which is capable of using media in MOV, AVI, WAV, BMP, DIB, JPEG and other standard formats. NetShow also supports the H.323, H.263 and G.723 audio and video standards, as well as transport and protocol standards such as UDP/IP, TCP/IP, HTTP, RTP and IP multicast.

Broad Industry Support for NetShow

A growing number of companies have been using business applications based on Microsoft NetShow since its release in December 1996. Since then, more than 40,000
NetShow-based servers have shipped and more than 30 content providers, content tools vendors, codec vendors and hardware vendors are developing NetShow-based products and services.

“At MSNBC Desktop Video, we evaluated many technologies for bringing the best quality video content to our corporate customers via our new Internet service – MSNBC Business Video,” said Mike Wheeler, president of MSNBC Desktop Video. “After this evaluation, we chose to use NetShow 2.0 as the cornerstone of our video transmission.” MSNBC Business Video is launching today using NetShow 2.0 for interactive audio and video broadcast delivery of breaking news events that affect the business professional.

An important aspect of Microsoft NetShow is the ability that allows content producers to select the best compression technology for their work. The new Fraunhofer Gesellschaft e.V. (FhG) codec included with NetShow 2.0 offers stereo sound at Internet bandwidths and
CD-quality sound at higher intranet bandwidths to thousands of listeners.

The ability to quickly and efficiently produce NetShow content is made possible by authoring tools included in the product. In addition, industry-leading third-party authoring tools, including the Vivo VivoActive Producer, now support NetShow and can be used to generate NetShow content. Radio and television broadcasters can now move their existing content to the Web using professional encoding systems, such as the Telos Systems Professional Hardware Encoder, now in beta testing with NetShow support.

Content producers can use NetShow to create multimedia presentations for the Web from photographs, audio, video and other traditionally analog-based content. Minolta Company Ltd.; MultiMedia Access Corp., Osprey Technologies Division; Specom Technologies Corp.; and Ulead Systems Inc. will ship NetShow-based components with their respective products.

These companies join the already substantial list of companies supporting NetShow, including Aimtech Corp., Amdahl Corp., Ascend Communications Inc., Asymetrix Corp., Elemedia (a business venture of Lucent Technologies Inc.), Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., CYCON Technologies, Digital Equipment Corp., Digital Renaissance Corp., Fraunhofer Gesellschaft e.V. (FhG), Hyundai Information Technology Company Ltd., Innovative Quality Software, Intel Corp., Interactive Computer Television Inc., Iterated Systems Inc., LanOptics Inc., Liquid Audio Inc., Macromedia Inc., MGI Software Corp., MSNBC Desktop Video, NCompass Labs Inc., NeTpower Inc., Nomura Research Institute, Sonic Foundry Inc., Technologic Inc., StarBurst Communications, The Palace Inc., VDOnet Corp., VXtreme Inc., Waves and Xing Technology Corp.


NetShow 2.0 beta software is available now without charge from the Microsoft Web site at (connect-time charges may apply) and is included with IIS 3.0. The final version of NetShow 2.0 is expected later this spring.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) 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, NetShow, Windows NT, Jscript, AcriveX and NetMeeting are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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