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Multimedia standard backed

Netscape Communications and Progressive Networks announce that 38 companies have agreed to support a proposed open standard for real-time multimedia information over the Internet.

Netscape Communications and Progressive Networks announced today that 38 companies have agreed to support a proposed open standard for real-time multimedia information over the Internet.

Among the companies are Apple Computer, Autodesk's Kinetix unit, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, and Macromedia.

The new standard, known as the Real Time Streaming Protocol, is a communications standard for delivery of real-time media. Widespread support for this unified standard is considered crucial to ensure interoperability.

"Until now, each vendor of Internet multimedia systems had a different approach, which has led to confusion," said analyst Jerry Michalski, managing editor of Release 1.0, a computer industry newsletter. "This, combined with the impressive group of industry-leading companies that support RTSP, should catalyze streaming media development on the Web."

The announcement comes on the heels of the unveiling of a Progressive Networks framework that allows its RealAudio software to work with other streaming media technologies, including forthcoming products from Netscape.

As previously reported by CNET, the framework is called RealMedia Architecture and will allow streaming media products from different vendors to send and receive broadcasts to each other.


Progressive Networks' Rob Glaser on RMA
Streaming media software allows users to listen to audio files, view video clips, and receive other kinds of data as they are downloaded from the Internet, rather having to wait for the files to download.

The framework is designed to work with a variety of different media types including audio, video, MIDI, data, animation, presentations, and images, to interoperate with client and server software, Progressive Networks said.

Progressive's streaming media framework is intended to bolster the company's position in the market by broadening the range of client software that can tune in to audio broadcasts distributed by its server. If the framework takes off with developers, it could also give Progressive Networks control of a valuable set of APIs that govern how various streaming media products work together.


© 1996 Reuters contributed to this report.