AOL Time Warner is quietly developing technology that could dramatically cut the costs of audio and video broadcasts on the Internet, according to sources familiar with the effort.
AOL Time Warner declined to comment on the technology, code-named "Ultravox." But one source familiar with the technology said it aims to create supercharged network routers capable of moving large media files far more efficiently than is possible with current Internet technology.
"Oh, Vienna!!" ;) Has Midge Ure got anything to do with this? (One for you oldies out there)
"Ultravox is a combo of (file) formats and switching hardware that supports them," this source said. "It allows for 10,000 users to be supported out of a cheap switch, versus 1,000 users on an expensive Sun (Microsystems) box or 100 users on a (Microsoft Windows) NT box."
Ultravox is just one strand in a widespread effort to bring badly needed improvements to Internet video and audio. Despite years of tinkering, streaming costs remain too high for many would-be providers while quality is still too low to create a mass audience for commerical, Internet-powered entertainment services conceived by media giants such as AOL.
News source: c|net