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Microsoft touts low-cost streaming media in Windows 2000
(IDG) -- With this week's long-awaited launch of Windows 2000, Microsoft is touting its low cost Windows Media Services for streaming audio and video to intranets and the Internet.
Like it did with Internet Explorer, giving it away for free to gain a foothold in the market, Microsoft is giving away its streaming media server as part of the standard Windows 2000 server package. This means that companies that install Windows 2000 servers do not have to purchase separate licenses for a streaming media server. "Because [Media Services is] a core feature of Windows 2000 server, it is deployed when the server is deployed," says Mike Aldridge, product manager of Microsoft's digital media division.
Aldridge claims that Windows 2000 Advanced server, running on a multiprocessor machine, can support up to 9,000 simultaneous streams running at 22K bit/sec and nearly 2,200 broadband streams running over 100K bit/sec. He adds that this is an internal benchmark and that the machine was dedicated to streaming only.
Microsoft only recently began getting serious in this space with the release of Windows Media Player, a much more robust piece of client software for viewing and listening to streaming media than the company has offered in the past. The previous client that shipped as part of Windows 95 was simplistic and limited compared to the competition.
With the release of Windows 2000 and its built-in Media Services, Microsoft is clearly taking aim at RealNetworks, which claims there are 95 million unique users of its RealPlayer software. Like Microsoft, Real gives its players away for free. But on the server side, one must purchase the server and pay a fee based on the number of simultaneous streams the customer wants to support. Microsoft does not have a per-charge stream, Aldridge says.
RealNetworks this week announced that its RealServer G2 product supports the Windows 2000 platform.
"This is a key product for organizations looking to break the barriers to enterprise streaming," says Mike Aldridge, product manager of Microsoft's digital media division.
Average consumers shouldn't line up just yet for Windows 2000
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