WebTV Finally Jumps on G2 Bandwagon

More than a year after Real Networks Inc. released the first beta version of its G2 streaming media platform, WebTV Networks Inc. Thursday announced plans to add the functionality to its set-top boxes.

Under the agreement, WebTV subscribers will be able to listen to
next-generation audio and programming once the upgrade is rolled out later this year. WebTV users will not be able to view Real Video clips, but Microsoft would not elaborate why it is not included.

Real also said it will develop a new
RealPlayer G2 for the Windows CE operating system.

Bruce Leak, WebTV president, said the company is always looking for ways to
make there service more attractive and an enhanced audio experience is good
news for subscribers.

“Our ongoing work with RealNetworks continues to allow us to
deliver audio technology that makes the Internet experience even more
interesting and compelling for our subscribers.”

According to Phil Barrett, RealNetworks senior vice president of media
technologies, RealPlayer G2 is an innovative streaming media technology
designed to entertain an Internet audience with a wide variety of news and music.

For quite some time, WebTV users have been clammoring to get the company to support G2. Late last year, WebTV executives promised support would be added quickly. For Microsoft-owned WebTV, adding G2 meant embracing a technology that competes with that company’s own streaming-media platform, Windows Media Player.

WebTV officials blamed the slow roll-out on the limited memory in the devices.

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