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Oracle to test Video Server 3.0

With the release, the company is moving into direct competition with Microsoft in the market for video streaming software.

Oracle (ORCL) is moving into direct competition with Microsoft in the market for video streaming software.

The company will on Monday announce the beta test release of its Video Server 3.0, an addition to its database server for storing, managing, and delivering full-motion video and audio to users' desktops.

The release will be the debut of new low-end technology for supporting video delivered over the Internet to Web browsers and Java applications, the company said.

That puts Oracle in direct competition with Microsoft, Real Networks, Vivo, and other Net-based streaming technology makers.

Oracle indicated its intentions to move into the streaming video market last summer. Last August, the company proposed the Video Encoding Standard API as a standard method for connecting video encoders and servers for delivering real-time digital video broadcasts.

Analysts interpreted the move as the first sign that the company was moving from its position as a supplier of video server technology for interactive television and corporate network users into the more general Net streaming area.

Monday's announcement will confirm the company's intentions. "We have been focused on high quality full-screen market. Now in this release we're focusing more on the low-bit rate market," said Laurie Mann, director of advanced video systems at Oracle.

Video Server 3.0 also includes support for technology Oracle calls "VCR in a network" which gives users VCR-like pause and seek control over real-time video feeds.

Also new are: scheduling tools for timing the delivery of video; real-time feed and encoding ability, based on Oracle's proposed encoding standard; digital asset management tools for stringing together audio and video content; CORBA (common object request broker architecture) support, so that Video Server applications can be linked into larger applications; and a Java-based management tool.

Pricing for the new release has not been announced. The current release of Video Server is priced at $295 per concurrent video stream. Oracle will also introduce new pricing to support low-bit rate streaming, Mann said.

Users also need a copy of Oracle's database server to use Video Server.