Sunday, April 17, 2005

Microsoft Cites Industry Momentum for Windows Media Video 9

Microsoft cited growing industry support for its Windows Media Video 9 (Microsoft's implementation of VC-1, the proposed SMPTE standard) for the creation, distribution and playback of high-definition (HD) content. VC-1 recently reached the critical step of Final Committee Draft (FCD) status with SMPTE's C24 Technology Committee, in which it is officially referenced as SMPTE standard 421M. In the future, content created in VC-1 will be compatible with the Windows Media Video 9-based PC, consumer electronic device and TV experiences currently available.

Microsoft said VC-1 is under consideration by a number of other standards and industry organizations, and completion of the work with SMPTE will allow interested parties to make a simple reference to the SMPTE standard in order to standardize it within their group.

At this week's National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Microsoft is showcasing several industry partnerships centered around Windows Media Video 9. These include:

  • Warner Bros. Studios is the first major studio committing to deliver HD content to consumers via optical media. It plans to deliver next-generation HD-DVD discs in the fourth quarter of 2005.

  • GridIron Software Inc., Inlet Technologies, TANDBERG Television and Tarari Inc. are announcing accelerated and real-time HD Windows Media Video 9 (VC-1) encoding tools.

  • Thomson is unveiling a new Windows Media Video 9 (VC-1)-capable set-top-box for IPTV delivery.

  • Crown Castle Mobile Media has selected Windows Media Audio, Windows Media Video 9 and Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) 10 for its Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) broadcast service deployment. DVB-H is currently expected to become the global standard for mobile television and has been adopted by both the DVB Organization and ETSI. The proposed network will utilize 5 MHz of unencumbered nationwide spectrum acquired by Crown Castle through Federal Communications Commission Auction 46 in 2003.

  • Microsoft is establishing the THX Best Practices Laboratory for Windows Media, a unique facility that will offer the Hollywood community an environment to objectively evaluate Windows Media technologies for professional post-production and consumer applications.

  • Microsoft is demonstrating a new 64-bit version of Windows, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, that is especially tuned for media creation. Producers of leading content creation tools, such as Cakewalk and NewTek Inc., have announced plans to deliver 64-bit implementations, and Microsoft will demonstrate the forthcoming 64-bit version of Windows Media Encoder.


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