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DVD-quality video over the Net?

Tiny streaming-media developer EdgeStream sets sights on broadband set-top box market with some big claims.

EdgeStream unveiled on Wednesday a new television set-top box that uses its proprietary IPTV software platform and can, according to the company, deliver DVD-quality, on-demand broadcasts over the Net.

The Internet streaming-media developer said the broadband IPV500 set-top box was built by Wyse Technology on a reference design from Intel. The box runs Microsoft's Windows Media Series 9 technology over EdgeStream's IPTV software. EdgeStream also announced that Media Portal Technology will use the box to deliver IPTV to subscribers in the United Kingdom and Europe.

"The EdgeStream software suite provides a highly reliable...platform that will allow us to provide our end customers with full-screen DVD-quality video on demand (as well as) streaming applications in the U.K. and Europe over the public Internet," Graham Cooke, CEO of Media Portal Technology, U.K., said in a statement.

The box comes as efforts to transmit cable-quality video over the Net are heating up, thanks in part to ambitious plans by telephone companies to offer television over their growing fiber and hybrid DSL (digital subscriber line) networks.

Tiny Laguna Hills-based EdgeStream has struggled for years to win recognition for its technology for managing network congestion problems, claiming vast improvements in quality of service for video streams over the Internet.

Recently, the company's technology has piqued the interest of some technology giants. Microsoft and Intel have both agreed to promote EdgeStream's technology as the Wintel duo sets its sights on cracking the IPTV market.

Despite some impressive demonstrations, EdgeStream has yet to ink a lasting partnership with a major broadcaster. Its highest profile deal to date, struck in 2002 with Japan's Softbank to deliver IP video, was not renewed.