Microsoft Unveils Windows Media Certification Program

In a move to help streaming-content providers choose reliable hosting and content delivery network (CDN) providers, Microsoft Corp. today announced the Windows Media 9 Series Hosting Provider Certification Program.

The program is designed to provide a rigorous certification process that will help content providers make more informed decisions about which hosting providers have the technical expertise and the reliable networks to deliver Windows Media 9 Series content.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company reports that hosting providers such as Akamai Technologies, Limelight Networks, Loudeye Corp, Streaming Media Corporation, Speedera Networks and SyncCast are among the first to be certified in the new program.

“Content owners can now be assured Windows Media 9 Series Certified Hosting Providers have been evaluated and tested to ensure they have the technical expertise to deliver the most out of the Windows Media 9 Series platform,” said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft, in a statement.

Fester said that companies shopping for a hosting provider can be certain that a certified Windows Media 9 Series can help them achieve results such as reducing bandwidth costs, delivering the best streaming experience and creating new opportunities for streamed events.

Microsoft reports that each Windows Media 9 Series Certified Hosting Provider has committed to implementing Windows Media Services 9 Series on Windows .NET Server 2003. Each provider also undergoes third-party testing through Streamcheck, a company that specializes in measurement and certification of CDN quality of service. Certified hosting providers must also agree to subject themselves to random quality checks.

Other requirements for certification include the following:

  • Must offer end-to-end implementation of Windows Media 9 Series
    technology including support for live and on-demand streaming,
    server-side playlists with advertising, and Windows Media Digital
    Rights Management including Live DRM.

  • Must demonstrate significant Windows Media 9 Series hosting capacity with
    at least 20 servers running Windows Media Services 9 Series on Windows
    .NET Server 2003 Enterprise Edition deployed at all times and the
    availability of 8 Gbps of aggregate throughput.

  • Must provide proven developer expertise for creating custom server-side
    plug-ins with Windows Media Services 9 Series.

  • Must provide hosting support for Microsoft Producer for PowerPoint 2003

To be eligible, providers must also have at least two years experience operating as a large-scale hosting provider and provide five customer references, according to Microsoft.

Benefits of the program include limited co-marketing opportunities with Microsoft, prominent position on Windows Media Certified Hosting Provider Web page and the Powered by Windows Media 9 Series logo.

According to Microsoft, its Windows Media service provider Web site will updated to reflect the new certified hosting providers in early 2003.

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