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Vivendi Debuts MP4.com

Do you like to watch?

Vivendi Universal, the French-based entertainment conglomerate is hoping you do. The company's Net USA division Wednesday soft launched MP4.com.

The online destination is being touted as a place for users and filmmakers to share movies online. The full site is expected to hard launch by March.

The company says MP3.com, which Vivendi owns, inspired the MP4.com site, although the service is more focused on streaming video instead of downloads. The beta release includes movie trailers, music videos, games and animations. Vivendi says as the site develops, it will add more video- related content and features.

The site is expected to be chocked full of entertainment with the likes of George Carlin and Verve Pipe - as well as games like Half Life and other cool animations.

MP4.com's technology is based on pressplay, a joint music service between Vivendi and Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment . The look and the feel of MP4.com is very similar to Sony's Screenblast, broadband creation platform.

The site doesn't seem to take much to run either. Vivendi only requires a minimum of Windows 95 (*OEM Service Release 2) running on at least of 200 MHz Pentium with 32MB RAM and a soundcard. Macintosh users should be running OS 8.5 or newer with PowerPC processor.

The browser can either be Netscape Communicator 4.5 or newer or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or better and Vivendi says the content on MP4.com can be seen with a 56K modem. But for the full effect, you should be running a broadband connection.

Based in Los Angeles, Vivendi Universal Net USA's Web property list both consists of Vivendi's own original properties and reads like a who's who of firms that Vivendi has acquired in the past year. It includes: MP3.com; EMusic.com; GetMusic.com; RollingStone.com; Inside Sessions; Flipside; Uproar; Iwin; Virtual Vegas; parts of Education.com and the MP4 video site. These sites have a combined U.S. visitor base of 36.5 million.

The company says filmmakers will be able upload a handful of smallish streams at no cost. To display large file videos will cost a fee.