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IBM goes straight to video

IBM's new RS/6000 Video Server products distribute audio and video over the Internet, along with solutions for analog and digital streaming.

IBM (IBM) has announced new RS/6000 Video Server products that distribute audio and video over the Internet.

The IBM VideoCharger Server for AIX is an IBM software product which runs on RS/6000 servers, providing enterprises with a client-server solution for the delivery of real-time, on-demand video on a company's Internet-intranet infrastructure.

The video is streamed across the network, eliminating the need for downloading or saving the file before video and audio is played, IBM said.

Companies with intranets can use the VideoCharger to incorporate video into their Web pages, for example. The video is provided in real time with a VCR-like control that lets users play, pause, stop, and seek, IBM said.

The VideoCharger runs on any RS/6000 uniprocessor supporting AIX 4.2. It uses Real Time Protocol to stream audio and video data to Web-based clients. The VideoCharger can be linked with any other Web server through URLs in HTML documents.

Video can be encoded in a range of formats from low rate (20 kbps) and midband to MPEG-1 (1.5 mbps), which allows video to be sent to desktop clients at data rates that conform to current network bandwidth, IBM said.

Content and system management utilities allow content creators to load their videos onto the server complex from almost any kind of video system through a network connection.

Initially, VideoCharger will provide support for Windows 95 clients using the VideoCharger Player for Windows 95, which is provided at no additional charge, the company said. The VideoCharger is also scalable, allowing users to take advantage of more than one processor to increase performance.

Pricing for the Video Charger is $28,600.

In related news, IBM is also offering the IBM MediaStreamer Solutions. MediaStreamer solutions incorporate packaged hardware and software video server offerings for broadcast, cable, satellite, and other companies that need to stream audio and video content in both analog and digital output formats.

The MediaStreamer allows multistream playout of commercials, so that companies can feed the same commercial to different outputs simultaneously to customize commercials to audiences, IBM said.

Broadcast industry products developed for use with the MediaStreamer Solutions include the following:

  • The IBM MediaStreamer Archive, which provides storage of up to 6 terabytes of multimedia content. The MediaStreamer Archive integrates an automated tape library, Magstar tape drive technology, and a server that supports the MediaStreamer's data import library APIs.

  • A graphical user interface that permits manual control of the MediaStreamer. The interface looks similar to what broadcast studio operators see when using video tape players or cart machines.

  • Tivoli's TME 10 Netview, which monitors the status of all system and network components.

    The Media Streamer starts at $128,770 and ranges up to $224,000. Availability for both the VideoCharger and Media Streamer RS/6000 products is slated for the end of February 1997.