Microsoft Previews the Next Version of Windows Media Technologies, Code-Named “Corona”

NEW YORK, Dec. 11, 2001 — In a keynote address today at Streaming Media East 2001, Will Poole, vice president of the Windows® Digital Media Division at Microsoft Corp., addressed the role of digital media in re-energizing the market for Web-based services and previewed the first third-generation streaming platform technologies that will be included in the next version of the Microsoft® Windows Media™
Technologies, code-named
Poole demonstrated how
dramatically improves Internet streaming by introducing Fast Stream, which gives an instant-on, always-on experience, bringing home-theater-like audio and video quality to broadband PC users. Far surpassing the capabilities of any other similar technology,
is poised to lead the third generation of streaming on the Web, which Poole defined to include broadcast-quality experiences for end users and enhanced profitability for the entire digital media ecosystem.

“The features of this new platform provide both an improved economic proposition for advertisers and capabilities that will move streaming truly into the mass market, such as TV-like responsiveness and great audio and video quality,”
said Larry Gerbrandt, chief content officer for Kagan World Media.

Microsoft also today announced that the first of the
technologies, Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server, is immediately available for beta testing and is already delivering the most powerful streaming solution available today. The remaining
technologies, including new versions of Windows Media Player, Windows Media Audio and Video codecs, and Windows Media Encoder, as well as a new Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK), are scheduled to be available for beta testing early next year.

“In addition to other Corona capabilities, Microsoft is showing how Windows Media supports DVD- and HDTV-quality programs at vastly reduced data rates, setting the stage for new networked and personal digital media storage capabilities and markets,”
said Richard Doherty, director of research at The Envisioneering Group.

“For streaming on the Web to reach its full potential, it needs to break through todays limitations and provide a true broadcast-quality experience for broadband users who expect instant results and outstanding video quality,”
Poole said.
“Windows Media Corona will deliver on this promise, and in so doing create profitable and cost-saving opportunities for companies looking to develop and deliver Web-based digital media services.”

The following key
capabilities were previewed in todays keynote address:

  • Fast Stream , which delivers an instant-on, always-on streaming experience for broadband users, effectively eliminating the ever-present buffering delays. Fast Stream also automatically optimizes the delivery of streaming audio and video to take advantage of the full bandwidth available to the user, which vastly reduces or eliminates the impact of congestion on the Web for broadband users.

  • Home-theater-like experiences. Building on the industry-leading Windows Media Audio and Video codecs,
    introduces two new professional level audio and video codecs. The new Windows Media Audio Professional is the first codec to enable Web-based delivery of 6-channel surround sound with full-spectrum, full-resolution audio (24 bit/96 kHz sampling). A new version of the Windows Media Video codec provides a 20 percent efficiency boost compared with the previous version and now introduces the ability to provide HDTV-like video quality at file sizes half that of todays DVDs, for local playback on the PC.

  • Improved economics. “Coronas”
    new dynamic content programming capabilities, with server-side playlist support, enables real-time ad insertion and, when combined with Fast Stream, delivers the premier user experience for ad-driven streaming media business models.
    advances in compression technology help lower bandwidth costs, and with twice the server scalability compared with the previous version,
    answers the call for a cost-effective platform that can be used to build a profitable streaming business, or to use streaming to reduce costs of high-quality enterprise communication.

  • An extensible platform. “Corona”
    enables application developers to deliver exciting new products and services built on Windows Media Technologies via a state-of-the-art plug-in model for the player, server and encoder. A vastly improved software development kit will allow developers to easily incorporate digital media into their applications and solutions, using the programming languages with which they are already familiar. Overall,
    flexibility and extensibility will provide the foundation for a new generation of client-side and server-side digital media solutions.

More information about Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server is available on the Web at . Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server is available for beta testing to subscribers of Microsoft MSDN® program.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers and software developers as well as business, education and government users. Windows Media offers the industrys only integrated rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation, and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows Media and MSDN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the 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 Microsofts corporate information pages.

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