Microsoft Advances Windows Media with 'Corona'

Read this article over at BetaNews.

One week after RealNetworks announced the release of RealOne, Microsoft has fired its latest shot to dominate digital media on the Web and beyond. Microsoft's next generation Windows Media Platform, code-named Corona, takes aim at Real by offering a slew of enhanced capabilities. Technology dubbed Fast Stream is positioned to offer an "instant on" streaming experience capable of pushing Dolby 5.1 sound to the desktops of listeners. Another announcement set for Tuesday is news of the adoption of Windows Media by leading DVD manufacturers, deeply embedded into their players.

Just as RealNetworks controlled the spotlight at Streaming Media West earlier this year, Microsoft expects to steal the show on Tuesday when it unveils Corona at Streaming Media East, previewing two new Windows Media codecs that will enter beta testing early next year. Windows Media Audio Professional will be the first codec to deliver 5.1 channel audio with full resolution 24bit/96kHz sampling via the Web. Microsoft also claims its new Windows Media Video codec improves efficiency by 20 percent and provides HDTV-like quality video at half the file size of a DVD.

Perhaps most useful to broadband users, the new Windows Media formats will eliminate the need for buffering delays, optimizing the stream for instant playback using Fast Stream.

Corona will offer server-side playlists to allow content providers to dynamically update streams, such as inserting ads in real time. Additionally aiding developers will be a new .NET-centric plug-in model for embedding digital media into applications. Microsoft hopes to establish itself as the de facto standard when it comes to building a business model around streaming media.

News source: BetaNews

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