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Streaming Media News Roundup

Leading the news today, RealNetworks announced a deal with Turner Sports Interactive and NASCAR to offer exclusive subscription-based content through NASCAR.com’s TrackPass or the RealOne Membership. The multi-year deal will allow fans to get customized video highlights, and more. During races, fans can get in-car audio from any of nine drivers, as well as live audio coverage of the race. The deal is for all NASCAR races from February to November beginning with this weekend’s Daytona 500.

Although the service is free for a two-week period, audio and video on NASCAR.com ( www.nascar.com) will only be available by subscription. NASCAR.com’s service will cost $29.95 a year or $4.95 per month. Current RealOne members will also receive access to the NASCAR.com site.

More QuickTime Announcements

Apple had its QuickTime Live conference this week in Beverly Hills, California. Aside from the major news about not releasing QuickTime 6, there were other notable QuickTime announcements and even actual software releases. After Apple announced it wasn’t releasing QuickTime 6 because of the licensing issues, On2.com announced that it was releasing an updated version of its VP3 codec for QuickTime.

"We've always thought it of paramount importance to continually provide users of VP3 the best product possible. Since MPEG LA announced the license fee structure associated with MPEG-4, even more eyes are focused on alternatives," said Douglas A. McIntyre, On2 Technologies President and CEO, in a statement. "VP3 remains completely free."

Last week, On2 also offered its open-source VP3 codec to the ISMA to replace MPEG-4’s codecs. In a call to streamingmedia.com, McIntyre said he has talked to representatives from the ISMA, as well as some movie studios. He said they hope the MPEG LA will come out with a revised fee structure sometime soon.

Seattle-based Streambox (www.streambox.com) announced its new codec for QuickTime, called Streambox ACT-L2. According to the company, the codec delivers full-screen, full-motion video at anywhere from 200 to 1200 Kbps. CEO Bob Hildeman said the company worked on the codec for the last two years, and it is readying release of its live encoding product soon. The Streambox ACT-L2 decoder is available immediately for download. Look for the encoder for QuickTime to be released on February 28th.

Totally Hip Software (www.totallyhip.com) also announced that its LiveStage Professional application will be fully MPEG-4 compliant for QuickTime 6--at least once it is released. Totally Hip’s software works with a wide variety of file types including Flash, AVI and DV video.

New Arbitron Internet Radio Study

Arbitron (www.arbitron.com) and Edison Media Research announced the findings of a new Internet radio study that showed that 80 million people have tried streaming media. Arbitron’s new study called "Internet VIII: Advertising vs. Subscription - Which Streaming Model Will Win?" also found that four in 10 listeners are willing to pay for subscription music sites. Among the features listeners would pay for are commercial-free content, high quality audio and content that couldn't be found anywhere else.

More Good News
MeasureCast reported that Internet radio listening is up 129 percent this year already. As of January 2001, listening is up over 515 percent.

Arbitron’s 8th study – based on a January 2002 survey of 2,508 telephone interviews – will be released for free on Tuesday, February 26 during a live webcast. Earlier in the week, Arbitron reported that Virgin Radio was the number one channel in its January webcast ratings.

Virage Adds Support for Images and Documents

On Wednesday, Virage (www.virage.com) announced the release of its server for enterprise applications called the Virage Solution Server 4.0. The server includes search technology from Verity, with which Virage recently announced a partnership. It includes Verity's new K2 Developer tools which now gives Virage’s server provides new document and image searching capability.

Along with video file types, Virage Solution Server 4 now supports document types like ASCII, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Word Perfect, HTML, Unicode, Rich Text and image files.

"Just last quarter, we introduced user management, folders, and playlists into our server platform," said Dave Girouard, senior vice president of marketing and corporate strategy for Virage, in a statement. "This quarter, we're adding the world's best search technology, support for a wide array of image and document types, and significantly improved scalability and reliability. We're happy to say that all Virage solutions will benefit enormously from the improvements we've made to our core server platform.''

Telestream’s New Software

This week, Telestream (www.telestream.net) announced the release of version 2.0 of its software which adds features to its FlipFactory Pro and FlipFactory Publish products. The software has a new Java-based user interface, as well as more control over transcoding features. It also offers support for more codecs, like compressed AVI and Sorenson 3.

FlipFactory Pro and FlipFactory Publish is now shipping with the V2.0 upgrade installed and existing users will receive 2.0 software upgrades for free.

Telestream also showed off its new TrafficManager product for broadcast television. It acts as a traffic cop, detecting incoming media, notifies operators and station automation systems, logs media, adjusts audio levels and automatically reformats media for digital delivery.

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