Windows Media 9 Series Gains Broadcast Support - 19 Apr 2004

Windows Media 9 Series has gained support from a handful of broadcast companies as well as from hardware and software production companies, Microsoft announced at the National Association of Broadcasters 2004 (NAB2004) trade show. Two consumer TV services, VOOM and US Digital Television (USDTV), announced that they will use Windows Media 9 Series to deliver programming, and companies including Adobe Systems, BOXX Technologies, and CineForm announced new Windows XP-based solutions for High-Definition (HD) video production.
VOOM, a satellite service launched late last year by cable- and content-provider Cablevision Systems, plans to use Windows Media 9 Series as a compression technology to offer additional stations to its customers. The service's primary offerings include HD programming and select regular (standard definition--SD) channels, such as Comedy Central, MSNBC, MTV, and TNT. VOOM designed its set-top box with the goal of using a next-generation compression technology to deliver additional programming in the limited amount of available satellite space. The company considered the MPEG-4 format but decided to use Windows Media 9 Series for SD channels later this year and for HD channels early next year. The technology will let the company double its offerings, offer better quality, and save money.
The other TV service, USDTV, will use Windows Media 9 Series later this year in 30 US markets to deliver 12 of the most popular cable channels through "over-the-air" digital terrestrial antennas. USDTV wants to provide an alternative for consumers who are looking for core cable TV programming at an inexpensive price.
Video professionals who want to edit HD content in XP now have a solution. BOXX and CineForm announced new Adobe Premiere Pro-based hardware and software that enables real-time editing on the XP platform. "The HD revolution on the Windows XP PC desktop has now begun," Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Digital Media Division, said. "For the first time, real-time multistream HD video editing is now a reality on the Windows XP desktop with new breakthrough solutions from Adobe, BOXX Technologies, and CineForm for professionals in video, film, and broadcast production."
In related news, Microsoft's goal of gaining standard approval for the compression technology used in Windows Media Video 9 codec (VC-9) recently took another step closer to reality. The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) Video Compression Technology (C24) Technical Committee recently elevated the VC-9 technology to Committee Draft status. "The elevation of VC-9 to Committee Draft status represents consensus that the basic structure of the document is correct and that we can now start on the detailed work," Peter Symes, SMPTE vice president of engineering, said. The creation of a standard based on VC-9 will make adopting the technology easier and more appealing for the broadcasting and entertainment industry.

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