Microsoft Debuts New Media Player


Microsoft Corp. trotted out record producer George Martin, hip-hop artist LL
Cool J and movie producer James Cameron to join chairman Bill Gates in Hollywood
Wednesday night to announce the beta launch of the 'Windows Media Player 9'

The new server and audio and streaming player platform promises faster and
easier downloads for audio and video recording and playback.

The player sports a 'Services' tab to allow users to access Internet music-
and video-subscription services from pressplay, Full Audio, CinemaNow and
Intertainer Inc.

Microsoft said the player supports high-definition video at six times the
resolution of DVD, 5.1-channel surround-sound streaming audio and 'Fast
Streaming,' meant to make Web video more like a TV experience.

Microsoft said more than 60 companies are supporting Windows Media Player 9,
the bulk of them hardware and software companies.

Although Microsoft made the announcement in Hollywood, its Hollywood backing
was confined to the music divisions at Sony Corp. and Vivendi Universal, which
own pressplay, and Intertainer, which carries many Hollywood movies on its
Internet service.

Not to be outdone, RealNetworks Inc. said its new 'Helix Universal Server'
can play multiple formats, including Windows Media Player 9.

RNI also said Yahoo! Inc. has doubled its software-license agreement with
RNI, making the new 'RealPlayer' available to Yahoo! users.