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Microsoft, HP bond on high-tech Webcast

Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and others prep to perform a live Webcast of a concert in Japan that will offer high-definition video and 5.1-channel sound.

Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and others will conduct a live Webcast of a concert with high-definition video and 5.1-channel sound.

The tech companies, working with service providers NTT East and J-Stream, will broadcast a live concert of popular Japanese musician Jo Hisaishi on April 16 to a preselected audience of 700 through a Web site, according to Microsoft.

The broadcast is designed to demonstrate the use of broadband PCs as high-quality, audio-video entertainment devices, a Microsoft representative said. The company also aims to show that its server technology can be viable for streaming video into next-generation "filmless" digital movie theaters.

The broadcast resolution will be 1,280 pixels by 720 pixels, which is higher than DVD resolution and meets the so-called 720-pixel high-definition TV standard. Standard terrestrial broadcast TV produces a picture with about half that resolution. The sound will be in 5.1-channel surround mode, comprising audio for three front speakers, two rear speakers and a bass unit.

Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series player will be used on the PC end, and a server running the upcoming Windows Server 2003 operating system will feed the streams, the Microsoft representative said.

The collaboration was announced in Japan in early December. The announcement of the streaming test came soon after the launch of the Windows Media 9 Series in late January.

Microsoft expects streaming video content to form a strong component of its future business, and the company is on a campaign to see its own system gain dominance over those of rivals such as RealNetworks.

CNETAsia staff reported from Japan.