Microsoft Elevates ‘Windows Media 9’ Profile


Through a series of announcements at the International Broadcasters
Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Microsoft Corp. is raising the profile of
its "Windows Media 9 Series" video-compression standard to new levels.

In addition to a raft of partnerships, the company plans to submit Windows
Media 9 to the Society of Motion Picture Television Engineers for standards

Although SMPTE standards are nonbinding, U.S. programmers use MPEG-2 (Moving
Picture Expert Group) as a transmission standard. And work is being done on
successor standards, including MPEG-4.

By submitting Windows Media 9 to the SMPTE, Microsoft is entering that race
to be a successor to MPEG-2, which will mean that its source code will be open
to industry players.

One avenue Microsoft is pursuing to get Windows Media 9 adopted in the
marketplace is Internet-protocol television. The company announced that Monaco
Telecom has deployed video-on-demand and IPTV services to consumers using
Microsoft technology.

Microsoft also announced that a slew of broadcast and production companies
were integrating with Windows Media 9, including Harmonic Inc. Harmonic said it
will add codec support to its "DiviCom" real-time encoding platforms.

Separately at the show, Harmonic debuted its "DiviCom MV 450 HD"
digital-video encoder, which the company said allows operators to address the
trade-off between bit rate and picture quality.