LAS VEGAS, April 7, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that new compression technologies from The Duck Corp., Telos Systems, and Voxware Inc. are available in the Microsoft® NetShow
server 2.0 beta software. This support further extends the open, standards-based NetShow platform and delivers on Microsoft’s commitment to provide broadcasters and Web developers with the most powerful audio and video compression technology (codecs).
“The open, standards-based architecture of NetShow enables broadcasters to take advantage of the rapid innovation in compression technology,”
said David Cole, vice president, Internet client and collaboration division at Microsoft.
“The new third-party codecs, combined with the first MPEG-4 video codec, illustrate our commitment to providing broadcasters with high-quality compression technology. They can now use the very best codec for their content at virtually any bit rate, ranging from Internet speeds through high-bandwidth dedicated network speeds.”
Compression plays a key role in determining the quality of audio and video broadcast on the Web by reducing the transmission bandwidth required for sounds, images and video while improving playback quality. The addition of The Duck Corp., Telos Systems, and Voxware Inc. compression technologies gives Microsoft NetShow 2.0 the highest-quality audio and video at multiple bit rates, allowing broadcasters to bring exciting live and on-demand content to Web sites.
First MPEG-4 Codec
NetShow 2.0 also includes Microsoft’s MPEG-4 video codec. This codec is a low-bit-rate implementation of the MPEG-4 video standard under development by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) MPEG standards committee. It delivers market-leading-quality video at
28.8 Kbps through 300 Kbps.
The Duck Corp.
TrueMotion RT is the first software-only video-capture and compression technology for use in ADSL, cable modem and other high-bit-rate environments to deliver high-quality video in real time. This technology will facilitate the development of the next generation of desktop video applications for home and business use, including desktop video editing, computer-based training and videoconferencing.
“We are very excited that Microsoft has chosen to include TrueMotion RT in NetShow 2.0,”
said Stan Marder, chief executive officer of The Duck Corp.
“As the installed base of computers has grown increasingly more powerful, high-bit-rate digital video represents an emerging market for new applications for business and home use. TrueMotion RT and NetShow 2.0 represent a way for users to easily capture, compress and play back video without needing to purchase costly add-on hardware boards.”
Key to the Telos Systems’ approach is a dedicated professional-grade hardware encoder, which offers more processing power than systems that are bound to general-purpose CPUs. To ensure superior sound quality, a multiple DSP-chip compression engine performs state-of-the-art enhanced MPEG Layer-3 bit-rate reduction, the most powerful audio method endorsed by the competitive MPEG standards process. On the client side, listeners use the software player included as part of the standard installation of NetShow 2.0.
“As a manufacturer of broadcast equipment, we’ve been working to make audio webcasting a reasonable proposition for our customers, most of whom are radio stations and networks with fairly high expectations,”
said Steve Church, president of Telos Systems.
“They demand audio quality and audience reach comparable to traditional broadcasting. We believe that the high-volume listener potential enabled by the IP multicast capability in NetShow will move audio programming on the Internet to the next level. Microsoft’s platform combined with Telos’ high-fidelity capability will help to make broadcast services happen.”
Voxware MetaVoice and MetaSound coding technologies are designed to reproduce high-quality speech and audio while requiring very low communications bandwidth and processing power. MetaSound technology, based on core technology from Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., is optimized for high-quality audio with low complexity and memory use. These technologies make optimal use of today’s low-end (14.4 and 28.8) Kbps modems and processors.
“We are delighted that Microsoft has chosen both the Voxware MetaVoice and MetaSound Voxware technologies to augment NetShow 2.0,”
said Michael Goldstein, president and chief executive officer of Voxware.
“The use of our codecs can enable broadcasters to deliver high sound quality at low bit rates. Our RT24 codec, based on MetaVoice technology, is one of the lowest-bandwidth speech codecs on the market.”
NetShow Codec, Tools and Third-Party Support
These codecs join the growing list of compression technologies already shipping with Microsoft NetShow 2.0, including standards-based H.263 and G.723 codecs, Intel Indeo, Fraunhofer Institut Integrierte Schaltungen IIS MPEG Layer-3, VDOnet Wavelet and others. Tool vendors supporting the ASF file format can use all these codecs to create NetShow content.
Open, Standards-Based Platform
NetShow technology is built on open industry standards. 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.263 video standards, as well as transport and protocol standards such as UDP/IP, TCP/IP, HTTP, RTP and IP multicast. To date, 11 million NetShow-based clients and 40,000 servers have shipped since September 1996.
NetShow 2.0 beta software is available now at no charge from the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/netshow/ (connect-time charges may apply). The final version of NetShow 2.0 is expected later this spring.
To experience NetShow, visit http://www.microsoft.com/netshow/events.htm for a complete guide to the NetShow spring events series. This guide lists upcoming audio and video live and on-demand broadcasts using Microsoft NetShow.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
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