AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 12, 2002 — Today at IBC2002, Microsoft Corp. announced that leading companies from the European broadcast ecosystem for content encoding, distribution and playback are embracing Windows Media (TM) 9 Series’ innovations in audio and video quality to enable new content delivery opportunities for the European broadcast industry. Windows Media 9 Series includes video-compression technology that delivers broadcast-quality D1 resolution at half the bit rate of MPEG-4 and one-third the bit rate of MPEG-2. The same technology also provides broadcasters and content owners with unmatched video compression flexibility to scale from high-definition 720p content delivery to the PC, a set-top box and beyond, all the way to high-quality audio and video delivered to a wireless device.
“One of our most important goals in the development of Windows Media 9 Series was to offer a new threshold of audio and video quality, and by doing so create a platform of new opportunity for the broadcast industry,” said Will Poole, vice president of the New Media Platforms Group at Microsoft. “Today at IBC 2002 we see how companies across Europe are embracing these new opportunities for digital content distribution across both IP and standards-based broadcast networks.”
New Opportunities for Content Encoding
Leading broadcast systems hardware companies TANDBERG Television and Optibase Ltd. have announced and will be demonstrating their support for Windows Media 9 Series in their professional encoding products at IBC2002. This shows how the video-compression technology in Windows Media 9 Series scales up to meet the requirements of real-time professional encoding hardware for broadcasters and at the same time operates within standards-based broadcast infrastructures.
TANDBERG Television has announced that it is developing a dedicated real-time hardware-based encoding platform for Windows Media based on Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series for the telecommunications and professional broadcast industries. TANDBERG Television and Microsoft also are collaborating at a number of levels, including engineering and sales and marketing. The results of this cooperation will be demonstrated for the first time at IBC2002 in Stand No. 4.164.
Optibase, a leader in broadband streaming platforms, will demonstrate live encoding and streaming of Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series with its carrier-grade TV streaming platform, MGW 5100. The platform is designed to enable carriers to deliver advanced broadband services over their existing infrastructure, with no network upgrades. The demonstration will be held at the Microsoft Theater, Stand No. 4.164, at IBC.
New Opportunities for Content Distribution
NTL Broadcast, a digital pioneer in the European broadcast industry, together with TANDBERG Television, is presenting the first demonstration of high-quality video, encoded into Windows Media Video 9 format, delivered in real time over a DVB-T mobile network to moving vehicles in Amsterdam. ITN news stories and British Eurosport video will be received in the IBC shuttle vehicles traveling through Amsterdam, delivered via the standard DVB-T infrastructure. To do this, NTL Broadcast, TANDBERG Television and Microsoft will create an end-to-end DVB broadcast system that will combine file transfer and live streaming of real-time broadcast-quality Windows Media Video 9 over satellite and terrestrial networks.
New Opportunities for Content Playback on the PC and the TV
The breakthrough audio and video quality of Windows Media 9 Series is now being rapidly embraced to create new services and new forms for digital entertainment. Companies such as Pace Micro Technologies Plc, Moviesystem, major chip makers for set-top boxes and Yes Television are using Windows Media to power new kinds of content delivery system opportunities throughout Europe.
Pace Micro Technologies, one of the largest set-top-box makers in Europe, will be demonstrating the first Windows Media 9 Series-capable set-top boxes for telecommunications and broadband IP network operators. Part of Pace’s new innovative IP400 family that is being launched at IBC2002, these new set-top boxes can be used by network operators to create an end-to-end Windows Media solution for the delivery of high-quality, low-bit-rate video and multimedia services over IP networks to consumers.
Moviesystem’s new NetCine Video on Demand Service will be demonstrating at IBC2002 how broadcasters can distribute content in new ways using the quality and security of Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series. They will be among the first on the continent to provide high-quality streamed video over the Internet using Windows Media 9 Series technology, providing premium content from major film producers such as Path and Luc Besson’s Europa Corp. They also will showcase a new set-top box version of NetCine, which enables customers to access on-demand entertainment from their TV screen and which will be made available over the next six months in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and in Italy and Spain shortly thereafter.
Some of the leading manufacturers of chips for set-top boxes including Equator Technologies Inc., National Semiconductor Corp., Sigma Designs Inc., STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments Inc. are also announcing and demonstrating their support for Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series at IBC 2002. (See related press release.)
Yes Television in the United Kingdom is announcing support for Microsoft Windows Media 9 Series in its third-generation Ozone Application Suite. Ozone will include broad support both for the audio/video technology and Digital Rights Management (DRM) capabilities of Windows Media 9 Series as a secure, high-quality video and audio format for storage and delivery of on-demand TV services into the residential and hospitality markets.
Advanced Content Security
Windows Media pioneered the first DRM technology for audio and video in 1999 and has since become the leading technology for Internet subscription services around the world. DMDsecure, based in the Netherlands, is a leading software vendor in DRM components. It has integrated these innovations into its own server-side products, DMDfusion and DMDaccess, which manage the access, use, protection and licensing of digital content. These products easily integrate into an existing broadband and broadcast infrastructure and enable a wide range of content delivery services such as video on demand, e-learning, content subscriptions, document delivery, pay-per-view, corporate communication and live events. DMDsecure will be demonstrating its support for the latest advancements in Windows Media 9 Series DRM, including Live DRM at IBC2002. DRMsecure’s clients include Akamai Technologies Inc., Arcor (a Vodafone Group plc subsidiary), Bertelsmann AG, T-Systems Media Broadcast (a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary), Fastweb and Tiscali SpA.
About Windows Media
Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The new Windows Media 9 Series will power the next wave of digital media, delivering the best playback experience, unmatched audio and video quality, and integrated optional digital rights management technology, and is the most comprehensive platform for developing digital media products and services. The Windows Media platform includes Windows Media Player; Windows Media Services, the powerful streaming server for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video for the best-quality audio and video; Windows Media DRM for protecting content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit 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 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .
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