Reprinted from a Microsoft press release:


REDMOND, Wash. – June 12, 2002 – Microsoft Corp. today announced that MSNBC.com – the Web’s most popular news site* – has for the last two months been using the beta version of Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server, a core component of the upcoming, next-generation Windows Media platform, code-named “Corona.” Over that time MSNBC.com has delivered more than 7 million streams to consumers worldwide using servers running the “Corona” beta software. MSNBC.com has also confirmed that using the same hardware, in one of the most demanding live production environments, this new streaming engine for Windows Media “Corona” already is delivering nearly double the scalability of the industry’s most scalable server, Windows Media Services in Windows 2000 Server.


“As the most popular news site on the Internet, we deliver over 10 million streams every month and are impressed by the performance improvements we are experiencing with this beta,” said Mike Corrigan, director of technology at MSNBC.com. “Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server is already saving us money, demonstrating the ability to deliver nearly double the number of streams per server using the same hardware we used with Windows 2000 Server.”


MSNBC has been using the technical beta of the new Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server for more than two months to deliver both live and on-demand content to its customers. In one particularly demanding scenario, MSNBC was able to observe the scalability innovations of the new Windows Media “Corona” media services firsthand when live video content had a huge spike in streaming traffic. This forced all existing MSNBC servers running the previous versions of Windows Media Services on Windows 2000 version to reach nearly maximum capacity. Meanwhile, the same number of streams delivered by the “Corona” media server and using the same hardware was only at 23 percent capacity.


“The results MSNBC.com has achieved with Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server are an indication of the big things to come from Windows Media ‘Corona,'” said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “We engineered the ‘Corona’ server not only to maximize scalability; it is engineered to deliver a faster, smoother television-like viewing experience for streamed audio and video, and optimize the economics of delivering digital media for companies on the Internet and in corporate intranets.


Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server is the first deliverable within the Windows Media “Corona” platform unveiled last December and provides a powerful new engine for the delivery of streaming audio and video. Windows Media “Corona” will enable the third generation of streaming on the Internet and include new media server technology, audio and video codecs, a player, and tools for developers. This new platform will for the first time enable a home-theater-quality experience and effectively eliminate buffering by delivering an instant-on, always-on experience for broadband users.


Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server lays the foundation for the upcoming “Corona” platform by offering the following key innovations:


Fast Stream. Fast Stream dramatically improves the everyday streaming experience by delivering an instant-on, always-on experience that virtually eliminates waiting caused by buffering of audio and video files streamed across broadband networks.


Broadcast ready. Offering the industry’s first server-side playlists, which enable content providers to dynamically change on the fly any content delivered in a streamed broadcast environment, Windows Media Services turns the media server into a broadcast control room. Combined with multicast technology, server-side playlists break down cost barriers and maximize reach for streaming broadcasts. New support for dynamic streaming ad insertion also improves the economics for streaming by improving the effectiveness and measurability of streaming advertising to better compete with traditional media.


Industrial-strength scalability and control. Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server doubles the scalability of the industry’s most scalable media server. Combined with more flexible administrative management and control of bandwidth usage using Microsoft Management Console, the new media services provide a rock-solid foundation for delivering media across any enterprise or commercial network.


Unprecedented extensibility for customization. Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server offers more than 1,000 platform APIs and support for seven programming languages for plug-in development. It also offers unprecedented opportunities for IT professionals to flexibly adapt Windows Media Services to their specific environments, and allows developers to create new revenue opportunities by building value-added applications and services.


Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server is a feature of the Windows .NET Server family and is available in technical beta to testers and developers today via MSDN and Technet Plus subscriptions.

* Jupiter Media Metrix Monthly Flash Report, February 2002

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