Microsoft, Akamai Introduce Adaptive HD Web Video

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Microsoft and Akamai Technologies are teaming up to enable what they claim will be “high-definition-quality” video on PCs, delivered via Akamai’s content distribution network.

A beta release of Akamai’s AdaptiveEdge Streaming service, based on Microsoft’s Silverlight multimedia player, is scheduled to be available in early 2009.

“This allows content providers to deliver stutter-free HD content, with a stream that will adapt to the best possible experience a consumer could have,” said Tim Napoleon, Akamai’s chief strategist for digital media.

The Akamai service will use a new Web server technology from Microsoft, called Internet Information Services 7.0 Smooth Streaming, which adapts the quality of the video stream in real time based on connectivity speeds. The Smooth Streaming server delivers video as HTTP-based files, instead of requiring dedicated video-streaming servers.

The Akamai-Microsoft offering will provide HD video at 720p (1280 by 720 resolution with at least 24 frames per second), which requires between 2 and 6 Mbps depending on compression techniques and content type, Napoleon said.

Akamai is providing a technology demo of the new service at SmoothHD.com.

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