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SBC Yahoo! DSL Adds Streaming Media

Seeking an edge over AOL and MSN, Yahoo is now using Macromedia servers to deliver streaming video to subscribers of its co-branded SBC Yahoo! DSL service.

"One of the benefits of the platform is that we can update the service on a monthly basis," Nicki Dugan, a Yahoo! spokeswoman, told internetnews.com. "You don't have to wait a year for the newest version."

With great fanfare, AOL and MSN are rolling out new releases of their portal software this fall. Both upgrades contain new features designed to take advantage of high-speed connections.

For Yahoo's part, its new features include breaking news, entertainment, health, lifestyle, sports and finance reports are available at the SBC Yahoo! DSL homepage. The content comes from Reuters, AccuWeather.com and from Yahoo!'s own properties and can be accessed with little buffering and without having to open a separate media player.

Among other things, Macromedia's Flash Communication Server MX lets developers integrate streaming video and audio with motion graphics to improve multimedia presentations on the Internet.

It also powers messaging features such as multi-way, multi-user video and audio chats and the real-time collaboration features allow multiple users to share live white boards and other real-time data in the context of an application.

Like other broadband service providers, SBC Yahoo! DSL is making a push for high-speed users. It is offering a lower promotional rate for the first six months of service, which is available in 13 states, including California, Texas and Ohio. SBC Yahoo also offers dial-up Internet connections (Dugan declined to break down subscribers numbers).

Service providers can charge more for speedier service, but perhaps more importantly, fat pipes allow for the delivery of audio, video and other content and services that might generate additional revenues.

"There is a great opportunity for a more compelling experience (with broadband)," Dugan said.

Financial terms of the deal between Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo and San Francisco.-based Macromedia, were not disclosed.

Suzy Ramirez, a Macromedia spokeswoman, said Yahoo! has used a lot of Macromedia Flash on their sites in the past.

"They are huge supporters of the technology, particularly in the advertising space," Ramirez said.