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Sony invests in Net broadcaster

Sony Corp. of America is taking an undisclosed stake in satellite Internet broadcaster iBeam Broadcasting.

Sony Corp. of America has taken an undisclosed stake in satellite Internet broadcaster iBeam Broadcasting, the company announced this week.

iBeam is part of a new crop of companies hoping to provide networks that try to bypass increasingly congested Internet pipes using content caching servers, satellite feeds, traffic-routing software and other technologies. SkyCache and Edgix are among those that have entered this segment, with others, such as SoftNet Systems, making similar strategic plans.

iBeam said its network is designed to deliver high-quality streaming media to hundreds of thousands of simultaneous Internet users.

Earlier investors in the company include Intel, Microsoft and Covad Communications.

Microsoft is closely watching what effect this technology could have on its Windows Media Player and on Media Player content providers.

Microsoft has pushed aggressively into the streaming media industry, with a $30 million investment in streaming pioneer Intervu on Monday. Microsoft also joined a broad investment coalition that put $48 million in LoudEye, formerly known as Encoding.com, which converts music and video into formats that can be distributed over the Net.