The tool uses the Active Streaming Format (ASF) pitched by the software giant as a single standard to govern the manner in which video streams are sent across the public Internet and private corporate intranets.
Through its investment earlier this year in streaming industry leader Progressive Networks followed by its purchase of the smaller VXtreme, Microsoft has essentially bought its way into the core of the video and audio streaming market with the stated intent of developing its NetShow client-server package. Microsoft had also cut a marketing and technology deal with Vivo.
NetShow uses ASF to regulate the downloading of audio and video files from a server to a client machine. Overshadowed in the past year primarily by Progressive and its RealAudio and RealVideo software, which allows users to hear and watch stored files and live programs as they are downloaded, Microsoft now hopes to use NetShow to create a single streaming video format standard to help expand the market.
The new Windows 95 and NT-based VivoActive Producer for NetShow, available now at the company's Web site for $695, is intended to augment current offerings by giving developers a platform to create applications that support live Internet broadcasting. Upgrades from the previous version of the software are priced at $495.
The tool also allows ASF content to be streamed from standard HTTP servers, the company said.
Vivo says a Web developer can initiate a live streaming broadcast over the Internet with two mouse clicks with the tool.
The company also announced an entry-level streaming content tool called VivoActive VideoNow.