Microsoft Releases Public Beta Version of Enhanced Windows-Based Streaming Multimedia Technologies

Microsoft Releases Public Beta Version of Enhanced Windows-Based Streaming Multimedia Technologies

REDMOND, Wash., May 4, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the public beta release of the NetShow
™3.0, which offers streaming multimedia services in the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server operating system. In addition, Microsoft announced the public beta release of its new universal player, the Microsoft Media Player, and Microsoft NetShow Theater Server for providing broadcast-quality video on high-bandwidth networks. All three betas are available* for free download from the Microsoft Web site (connect-time charges may apply).

Bandwidth and processing power have been increasing at a rapid rate, which has opened the door for the next generation of rich business and entertainment applications that can take advantage of these advances. Now intranet and Internet developers can treat audio and video just like any other data type, providing a richer and more effective communication medium for end-users.

“Our customers want audio and video to become an integral part of their computing experience, just as it is a part of their everyday lives,”
said Jim Allchin, senior vice president, personal and business systems group at Microsoft.
“Microsoft has been investing in multimedia technologies for over 10 years. With these latest updates to the streaming multimedia services in Windows, developers can now add significant functionality or build an entirely new class of business and entertainment applications.”

NetShow Streaming Multimedia Services

Microsoft enhanced the streaming multimedia services offered by NetShow in
Windows NT Server to deliver the highest quality end-user experience at bandwidths ranging from 2.4 Kbps to 500 Kbps. Because NetShow integrates with Microsoft Office, the BackOffice® family and third-party applications, content providers are able to take advantage of services such as ad insertion, commerce and robust security, allowing them to generate revenue with streaming multimedia. For developers, the comprehensive tools and APIs of NetShow, combined with the Web and applications services in Windows NT Server, make it easy to author audio and video content and build value-added applications.

“The services of NetShow 3.0 in Windows NT Server signify the rapidly growing importance of streaming media as an essential business communications tool,”
said Greg Tapper, analyst at Giga Information Group Inc.
“These advances in NetShow 3.0 will be apparent at the two critical ends of a streaming multimedia solution: a greatly improved end-user experience and greatly enhanced authoring tools. In addition, we believe that the integration of NetShow in Windows NT Server will be compelling to both end users and developers, and will likely drive further growth in the overall streaming industry.”

Media Player

As more multimedia content is created and delivered over corporate intranets and the Internet, content providers need services to simplify the end-user experience of accessing and playing multimedia content. Enhancements in the new Media Player include the ability to play back most local and streamed multimedia file types including ASF, AVI, WAV, MPEG, QuickTime, and RealAudio and RealVideo content. Users will no longer need to download and configure multiple players to access different file types. Through the codec auto-download feature of the Media Player, users can now take advantage of improvements in Microsoft and third-party compression technology easily. The Media Player will automatically download new codecs from Microsoft’s codec repository on the Microsoft Web site, which provides a central location for developers to publicly post new codecs and incremental codec upgrades.

Microsoft NetShow Theater Server

Also released today is the public beta version of NetShow Theater Server, a high-performance, extremely scalable, fault-tolerant video server for delivery of broadcast-quality, MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 video on high-speed networks. It provides 30-frame-per-second, entertainment-quality video services and supports data rates ranging from 500 Kbps to 8 Mbps for content providers requiring the highest quality streaming experience with guaranteed delivery. Content from NetShow Theater Server is viewed with the new Media Player, providing a seamless end-user experience, regardless of file format or data rate.


The public beta releases of NetShow 3.0, the Microsoft Media Player and NetShow Theater Server are available for free download from the Web at or (connect-time charges may apply). The final versions of these technologies are expected to be released this summer. At that time, NetShow 3.0 will be available as a download for Windows NT Server 4.0. The Microsoft Media Player will be available as a download for users of the Windows® 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 operating systems, as well as for Macintosh operating system and UNIX users and as a built-in accessory in Windows NT Workstation 5.0. NetShow Theater Server will be available as

a standalone product. Pricing for NetShow Theater Server will be announced when the product is released.

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.

*The public beta releases are scheduled to be available for four to six months.

Microsoft, NetShow, Windows NT, BackOffice and Windows 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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