Microsoft Updates Windows Operating System With Enhanced Streaming Media Technologies

Key Corporations, Internet Sites and Industry Vendors Announce Deployment, Support

Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of enhanced streaming media technologies in the MicrosoftWindowsoperating system – the Windows Media Player and Windows NT Server NetShow
™Services – and the release of Microsoft NetShow Theater Server. Also today, Microsoft announced unprecedented support for these technologies from Internet content providers, corporate and education customers, industry vendors and service providers. Augmenting the existing Windows Media Technologies, such as DirectX Foundation and DirectX Media, these enhanced technologies enable customers to extend their investments in the Windows platform by developing richer business and entertainment solutions using streaming media. Additional information describing the new streaming media technologies is available on demand via the Windows Media Technologies Online Launch at .

Internet and intranet usage of streaming media is spawning a new generation of richer business and entertainment applications, such as online training, distance learning, corporate communications, and news and entertainment. Customers are looking for a simple method to develop and distribute rich streaming media solutions. The new Windows Media Player provides an easy way for end users to view streaming media because it provides a single player for viewing local and network-based content in the most popular formats. Enhancements to the NetShow Services, and the release of NetShow Theater Server, make it simple for developers to utilize the powerful tools and services of the Windows platform and the Microsoft BackOffice family, such as the robust security of Windows NT Server or the ad insertion and commerce capabilities of Microsoft Site Server, to distribute streaming media content.

“Streaming audio and video are quickly becoming a standard vehicle for richer communications,”
said Bob Herbold, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Microsoft.
“The tremendous industry support announced today signifies that customers are looking for a simple solution to build on their existing Windows-based environments. With these new technologies, Microsoft is moving the industry forward by making Windows the best platform for the creation, distribution, and playback of streaming media.”

Customer Deployments and Broad Industry Support

Citing the best end-user experience, integration with the Microsoft Office and BackOffice platforms, and the richness of developer tools and the Windows API set, customers and industry providers have announced plans to support the release by offering news, entertainment, corporate communications and online training based on the Windows Media Technologies. The Windows Media Player provides links to make it simple for end users to access brand name Internet content. Internet content providers making major commitments to the Windows Media Technologies include Bloomberg LP, Capitol Records, CBS Corp., CNBC/Dow Jones Business Video, CNET Inc., CNN Interactive, Hollywood Online, MSNBC, MUSICVIDEOS.COM, NBC Interactive, News America Digital Publishing (Fox Sports Online, Fox News Online), TV Guide Entertainment Network and Warner Bros. Online. End users can find a directory of streaming Internet content on the Windows Media Showcase at ( .

Major organizations announcing deployments of corporate communications and educational programs, such as online training and distance learning, include Deere & Company, Eastman Chemical Co. and Stanford University.

More than 30 independent software and hardware vendors and service providers, including Digital Renaissance, Sonic Foundry Inc., USWeb Corp. and VStream Inc., have announced products and services to augment the streaming media components of the Windows Media Technologies. Their press releases can be viewed online at .

In May, Microsoft announced the NetShow Service Provider Program, designed to help service providers successfully deploy the Windows Media Technologies for Internet, education and corporate customers. Today, more than 50 service providers have applied and been accepted into the program, creating a wealth of deployment expertise available to customers. More details on this program can be found at .

New Components of the Windows Media Technologies

The Windows Media Technologies, including DirectX, have enabled developers to build world-class games and multimedia-enabled applications for the Windows platform. Now developers using DirectX and Web developers can extend their applications to include streaming media with the updates to these features:

  • Windows Media Player. A single player with the ability to play back most popular local and streamed multimedia file types, including ASF, MPEG, AVI, WAV, QuickTime, and RealAudio and RealVideo content (version 4.0 and earlier), eliminating the need for users to have multiple players installed on their PCs.

  • Windows NT Server NetShow Services. Streaming media service in Windows NT Server that delivers a high-quality end-user experience, integration with Microsoft and third-party business applications, and comprehensive tools and developer APIs, at data rates ranging from 2.4 Kbps to 500 Kbps. Microsoft NetShow Theater Server. A separate product that delivers a high-performance, extremely scalable, fault-tolerant video server, providing guaranteed delivery of broadcast quality, MPEG 1 and MPEG 2, video on high-speed networks, at data rates ranging from 500 Kbps to 8 Mbps.

Pricing and Availability

The Windows Media Player is now available for download for users of the Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 operating systems at . Versions for users of the Windows 3.1, MacOS and UNIX operating systems are scheduled to be available later this summer.

NetShow Services are part of Windows NT Server. Customers with the Windows NT Server 4.0 operating system can now download the NetShow Services from .

NetShow Theater Server, a standalone product, has been released to manufacturing and is scheduled to be widely available through the retail channel early next month. NetShow Theater Server will be priced at approximately $2,499 per server, which includes five Client Access Licenses (CALs). Additional CALs will be sold in packs of five for approximately $499 and packs of 20 for approximately $1,799.

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, Windows, Windows NT, NetShow, DirectX and BackOffice 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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