RealTime IT News

@Home, RealNetworks Team on Broadband Platform

Cable Internet provider @Home Network is teaming with streaming media pioneer Real Networks Inc. to develop a new streaming media platform.

Friday's announcement comes less than a month after @Home announced plans to work with AT&T to develop a broadband backbone.

The new platform will be based on Real's G2 system and will include features designed to deliver high-quality, reliable and scalable high-bandwidth streaming media over @Home's cable network.

Tom Jermoluk, @Home's chairman and chief executive officer, said the partnership is the result of customer demands for more media-rich programming.

"As a result of our exclusive development efforts with RealNetworks, we will be able to create an advanced broadband media delivery network that surpasses any other streaming media network. In addition, we expect that this advanced broadband media platform will stimulate entirely new content experiences as publishers take advantage of the platform's delivery capabilities and cost savings," he said.

Rob Glaser, Real Networks' chairman and chief executive officer, hopes Real's G2 system will become widely used by broadband ISPs looking to increase their streaming media offerings.

"Our collaboration with @Home is another crucial step forward in enabling the Internet as the next mass medium for both consumers and content providers. Delivering a broadband streaming media experience to consumers requires a new kind of ISP infrastructure," he said.

Real plans to enhance its G2 platform to include better support for high-speed streaming media, including high bit rate stream splitting, cache proxies and auto proxy discovery. Real said those changes will allow broadband networks to deliver a higher quality user experience.

Real and @Home say the new infrastructure will allow high-quality audio and video quality that approaches that of VHS video tapes.

Content providers also stand to benefit from the enhancements, the companies said, as the new platform will reduce network delivery costs. Real's content partners are praising the moves.

"At CNET, we are keenly aware of the growing demand for rich media and are consistently exploring ways to optimize our content for broadband delivery," said Halsey Minor, CNET's chairman and chief executive officer.

"We are thrilled that @Home and RealNetworks are creating a new broadband platform for streaming media. This system will enable us to enhance the music experience MTV Online offers as well as create new broadband applications," said Matt Farber, MTV/VH1's senior vice president of programming enterprises.