RealTime IT News

Windows Media Finds a Home on Linux Devices

DVD software firm InterVideo has scored a deal with Microsoft to port components of the Windows Media Format to run on Linux-based consumer devices.

The deal illustrates the general shift in the digital media marketplace to open up codecs and formats to competing platforms. Rival RealNetworks has already gone the open-source route for its Helix platform. With the full-scale rollout of MPEG-4 gaining momentum, Microsoft is clearly repositioning its digital media efforts by embracing Linux.

The latest partnership calls for Fremont, Calif.-based InterVideo to take components of the Windows Media Format and port them over to Linux and provide them to consumer electronic device makers who use the Linux OS in their products. It clears the way for the new Windows Media 9 series to find a home on Linux-based set-top boxes, personal video recorders and other hybrid multimedia devices.

InterVideo, which markets software for DVD editing, distribution and burning on PCs and consumer electronic devices, said the main components of the Microsoft technology that will be ported to Linux include the Windows Media Audio and Video codecs, Windows Media file container, Windows Media streaming protocols, and DRM support.

"Linux is quickly becoming the platform of choice for consumer electronics, or CE, manufacturers of cable, Internet and satellite set-top boxes that are looking to add PVR (personal video recording) and DVD functionality," the company said. Intervideo already sells embedded Linux versions of its popular DVD and DVR PC software for consumer electronics manufacturers.

Separately, InterVideo announced the launch of its MPEG-4 codecs to support technology for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), which is styled as the future of FM radio.

The DAB technology promises CD-quality audio and the ability to carry video, text and images at bit rates between 0.6 to 1.8Mbps - depending on error protection level. DAB requires only a tiny non-directional stub antenna for high quality reception without interference or distortion. DAB multimedia content can even be received and played on small devices like PDAs with the use of a suitable adaptor.