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SGI server streams for intranets

Silicon Graphics will announce a new version of its server software for streaming sound and video over the Net or corporate intranets.

Silicon Graphics (SGI) will announce Monday a new version of its server software for streaming sound and video over the Net or higher-bandwidth corporate intranets.

In addition to SGI's high-end streaming technology, WebForce MediaBase version 2.0 incorporates RealAudio and RealVideo technology from Progressive Networks. For customers who want other video streaming technologies, MediaBase allows them to plug in software from Xing, Vxtreme, and Vosaic.

"This is the most scalable product in the industry to deliver video over 28.8-kbps modems at up to TV quality for corporate intranets," said Marc Trimuschat, SGI group products marketing manager.

The MediaBase server software runs only on SGI's WebForce hardware, but players for viewing MediaBase videos are available as plug-ins for Netscape Communications and Microsoft Web browsers for Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh, Solaris, AIX, and SGI's own Irix operating systems.

MediaBase integrates video streaming software with tools for content and network management. Version 1.0 was targeted at media and content creation companies, but the new version adds ISPs and corporate intranets as target markets. "It's for people with a lot of customers or a lot of video content," said Trimuschat.

SGI said MediaBase can send thousands of video streams simultaneously at speeds up to 8MB per second and supports multiple video standards, including MPEG1, MPEG2, and H.263, which is popular in Europe. Over ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) networks, the product supports the AAL5 native ATM protocol.

MediaBase 2.0 also incorporates digital encoding options from Optivision, OptiBase, Sony, Minerva, and others. It will support the emerging RSVP standard for reserving bandwidth for video on corporate networks as well as IP Multicasting.

Pricing ranges from $2,000 for ten simultaneous streams to $50,000 for 500 concurrent users. An beta version is expected this month, with shipping due in May.