Microsoft Demonstrates How Windows Media Can Reduce Distribution Costs For Traditional TV Broadcasts by as Much as 50 Percent

LAS VEGAS, April 8, 2002 — Today at NAB2002, the National Association of Broadcasters convention, Microsoft Corp., together with All Mobile Video (AMV) and Optibase Inc., demonstrated a breakthrough solution for traditional television broadcasters that can reduce the cost of video distribution using Microsoft®
Windows Media (TM) Video compression combined with IP-based networks. The innovative new solution is being demonstrated by All Mobile Video using a live broadcast feed on the floor of NAB2002 in Booth L515 and in the Microsoft Booth L1650 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“Our focus is to provide premier production services to the entertainment and broadcast community,” said Richard Duke, vice president at All Mobile Video. “We see the dramatic compression innovations in Windows Media Video are now offering us huge opportunities to reduce our costs by as much as 50 percent with new forms of distribution — without sacrificing the video quality our clients demand.”

All Mobile Video, based in New York, with facilities in St. Petersburg, Fla., and San Diego, Calif., is one of the leading production companies in the broadcast industry, where quality and dependability are critical to their reputation. AMV’s clients include the major television and cable networks, as well as the major syndication companies such as Columbia Tristar Television, Telepictures and Paramount Pictures. Taking advantage of the advancements in Windows Media Video, AMV will demonstrate a model solution on the show floor at NAB2002 that shows how a backhaul video distribution solution using IP networks can enable more cost-effective delivery of broadcast-quality video to clients. Duke added, “The model Windows Media Video distribution solution we are demonstrating at NAB2002 offers us a huge competitive advantage, and we expect it to provide significant savings over the cost of today’s MPEG2 distribution over existing fiber networks.”

“This demonstration is a dramatic example of how advances in video compression can dramatically improve the economics of even TV content distribution,” said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “Our R & D investments in audio and video codecs are now enabling Windows Media to extend beyond just distribution of media over the Web, into the broadcast world.”

How the Solution Works

Transporting video has traditionally been an expensive issue for content distributors. Moving video from one location to another has commonly meant either shipping tapes overnight or using a video backhaul. The process of renting expensive fiber networks and/or satellite time for transmission can cost thousands of dollars per hour in connection fees alone, and this solution still requires an expensive hardware infrastructure. Now, with IP-based delivery using Microsoft Windows Media, it is possible to deliver broadcast-quality video over simple broadband networks, lower traditional television broadcast transmission costs and use readily available lower-cost PC-based hardware.

The solution works by taking a live normal broadcast feed, sending it to a Windows Media encoder configured with an Optibase video pump, sending the encoded feed to a server, then broadcasting across an IP network to a decoder PC. The signal is then output via the Serial Digital output of the Optibase Video Pump card.

Windows Media: Offering the Highest Quality at Any Bandwidth

More efficient than other compression schemes, Windows Media allows users to reduce bandwidth and its associated costs while maintaining superior quality. Windows Media Video 8 compression allows up to full D1 720×486 resolutions of both progressive and interlaced content in real time at data rates of 1.5 Mbps to 8 Mbps. Because Windows Media Video 8 is approximately twice as efficient as MPEG2, this results in a quality level equivalent to a 3Mbps to 16Mbps MPEG2 stream.

In addition, because this solution can be built on top of modern PC architecture, Windows Media-based backhaul reduces equipment costs dramatically while offering optimal flexibility and reliability. Broadcast-ready encoders and decoders can be built for under $5,000, a far cry from the $20,000 to $60,000 investment required for MPEG2-based systems. Coupled with the ability to transmit professional-quality video over less expensive pipes, backhaul with Windows Media represents a substantially lower cost of ownership than any other solution.

Security and Reliability

The added security of Windows Media Digital Rights Management allows the distributor to set business rules for who can view and transcode content while protecting feeds from “sky pirates” who seek to hijack video transmissions from the satellite feed. Most important, the core distribution can be accomplished through Windows®
2000-based servers, which are available in configurations designed to deliver 99.999 percent uptime* — true carrier-class reliability.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated digital 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 (SDK) for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing and now leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

* This level of availability is dependent on many factors outside the operating system, including other hardware and software technologies, mission-critical operational processes and professional services.

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

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