Microsoft's Boffo Hollywood Opening for Newest Multimedia Player4 Sep, 2002 By: Hive Media
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates unveiled a preliminary version of his company's Windows Media 9 Series multimedia player for PCs Sept. 4 in Hollywood at the Kodak Theater with the support of more than 60 media, entertainment and other software and hardware companies now developing applications for the software. Microsoft is in a neck-and-neck race with RealNetworks' RealPlayer to control the multimedia player marketplace as broadband delivery of entertainment continues to grow.
The company's latest media player reportedly offers a number of improvements over earlier versions, including full 5.1 channel surround sound for streaming audio and high-definition video with file sizes small enough to eliminate the delays often caused by "buffering" as a video file prepares to play over the Web. The new software is free and available in its "beta" form from Microsoft's Web site.
The software will include access to several online content subscription services, including CinemaNow, a video-on-demand site owned by Lions Gate Entertainment. Intertainer also has announced support and applications development for Windows Media 9 Series.
Microsoft also is touting Windows Media 9 Series as having unrivalled security and digital copyright protection elements, a major selling point to Hollywood studios concerned with controlling the use of their products while looking for ways to enter the digital domain.