Microsoft previews next generation Windows Media Technology

At the Streaming Media East 2001 conference in New York this week, Microsoft is unveiling its next-generation Windows Media Technologies (code-named Corona).

According to the company, Corona dramatically improves streaming media through new features such as Fast Stream, which eliminates buffering delays for broadband users. The company is also showing off next-generation audio and video codecs, including Windows Media Audio (WMA) Professional, which delivers true 5.1 channel stereo surround sound.

"For streaming on the Web to reach its full potential, it needs to break through today's limitations and provide a true broadcast-quality experience for broadband users who expect instant results and outstanding video quality," says Will Poole, vice president of Microsoft's Windows Digital Media Division. "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 first Corona technologies are now available for testing in the Windows .NET Server beta, which includes Fast Stream, Server-side Playlists, optimizations for wireless streaming, and better scalability than previous versions.

The remaining Corona technologies, including new versions of Windows Media Player, Windows Media Audio and Video codecs, Windows Media Encoder, and a new Windows Media Software Development Kit, will be available for beta testing early next year.

News source: WinInformant

View Press Release: Microsoft Previews "Corona" at Streaming Media East 2001 and Q & A session.

Additionally, at Streaming Media East 2001, Microsoft has struck a deal with leading DVD chip manufacturers (who represent 90% of DVD processors manufactured) to add Windows Media support to DVD players, which will ship to stores in early 2002.

Manufacturers will add support over the next year for Windows Media Audio and Video, including the new Windows Media Technologies platform announced today, code-named "Corona". These include Cirrus Logic, ESS Technology, LSI Logic Corp., STMicroelectronics and Zoran Corp. Many of these DVD chip manufacturers have already begun to support Windows Media Audio, and will in turn provide it to major consumer electronics manufacturers, enabling consumers to play back 22 hours of music from a single CD on their DVD players in the next year.

The breakthrough support for Windows Media in DVD chips will enable a broad new range of digital audio and video home-entertainment experiences in the living room. Today's announcement lays the groundwork for the next generation of DVD players to appear next year, which merge the world of digital media on the PC with home entertainment systems in the living room. This will enable not just playback of CD-burned collections of digital music but also the eventual playback of video entertainment using Windows Media Video from CDs. DVD players eclipsed VCRs in sales for the first time this year and outsold VCRs for the second straight month in October, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

News source: Microsoft announces Windows Media Audio and Video to be supported in DVD players

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