Tech Industry

What next, Web karaoke?

Progressive Networks wants to bring karaoke to the Web with the help of a software development kit that will be posted on the Net next week.

Progressive Networks wants to make karaoke on the Web a reality.

That's one of the new applications that might grace the Net (or plague it, depending on who's singing) with the help of a software development kit (SDK) that will be posted on the Net next week, according Bruce Jacobsen, president and chief operating officer at Progressive. The release of the SDK will come as the company hosts the RealMedia Conference, where it will urge developers to combine streaming audio, video, text, 3D images, animation, and other media in Net broadcasts.

Progressive pioneered audio streaming over the Internet with RealAudio, a technology that allows users to listen to sound clips as they are downloaded from the Net rather than after they've been downloaded. But the company is working to incorporate streamed media other than sound into its products.

Earlier this month, Progressive introduced RealVideo, which streams audio and video, and last October it announced the RealMedia Architecture (RMA), a framework for blending media types from other companies. RMA applications are designed to be built on top of Progressive's client and server software.

At its conference next week, the company will give developers the tools necessary to start mixing their media. Jacobsen said that another RealMedia application could include a video or audio broadcast with closed captions for the hearing-impaired. A handful of vendors, including Olivr, Iterated Systems, and OnLive Technologies, will be demonstrating RealMedia applications next week, Jacobsen said.

RMA will be included in the RealPlayer, Progressive's client software, sometime in the second quarter.

Progressive also plans to discuss next week the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), a technology that will enable streaming products from different companies to work together. Announced last October, RTSP is currently being reviewed by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

"We would like the world to work where there's a basic set of interoperability," said Bruce Jacobsen, president and chief operating officer at Progressive.

Progressive CEO Rob Glaser and Netscape Communications chief technology officer Marc Andreessen will deliver keynotes at the conference.