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Tech Industry

Microsoft updates streaming

The giant rolls out upgrades to the Windows Media Player and Windows NT Server NetShow Services and releases the NetShow Theater Server.

    Microsoft today updated its streaming technology lineup with the rollout of the upgraded Windows Media Player and Windows NT Server NetShow Services, along with the release of the NetShow Theater Server.

    The software giant said its new Windows Media Player allows users to view streaming local and network-based content in popular formats via a single player. NBC Interactive, Fox News Online, Capitol Records, and CBS New Media are among the content providers supporting the Windows Media Technologies, Microsoft said.

    The Redmond, Washington-based company also released the Windows Media Player, its multimedia client, which allows users to play back local and streamed multimedia types including ASF, AVI, WAV, MPEG, and QuickTime, along with RealAudio and RealVideo content.

    MediaPlayer also includes auto-download features that allow users to take advantage of improvements in Microsoft and third-party compression technology.

    The NetShow Theater Server, a standalone product, runs on Microsoft's Windows NT Server operating system and provides streaming multimedia to end users at bandwidths ranging from 500 kbps to 8 Mbps. The new multimedia package is a high-end video server for delivering MPEG 1 and 2 video over high-speed networks. The server is aimed at content providers requiring high-quality video streaming and delivery.

    NetShow Theater Server will be generally available early next month and priced around $2,499 per server, which includes five client access licenses (CALs). Additional client licenses will be sold in packs of five for approximately $499.

    Because the NetShow server integrates with Microsoft Office, the BackOffice family, and third-party applications, content providers can take advantage of services such as ad insertion, commerce, and security, Microsoft said.

    Windows NT NetShow Services, also rolled out today, is a streaming media service in Windows NT Server that provides an end-user environment, integration with Microsoft and third-party business applications, and tools and developer APIs (application programming interface), according to the company.

    NetShow Services can be downloaded at no charge from Microsoft's Web site.

    Windows Media Player can also be downloaded from the company's Web site. Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 versions are currently available. Versions for the Macintosh and Unix operating systems will be available later this year, the company said.