Windows Media Finds a Home on Linux Devices

DVD software firm InterVideo has
scored a deal with Microsoft to port components of the
Windows Media Format to run on Linux-based consumer devices.

The deal illustrates the general
shift
in the digital media marketplace to open up codecs and formats to
competing platforms. Rival RealNetworks has already gone
the open-source route for its Helix platform. With the full-scale rollout
of MPEG-4 gaining momentum, Microsoft is clearly repositioning its digital
media efforts by embracing Linux.

The latest partnership calls for Fremont, Calif.-based InterVideo to take
components of the Windows Media Format and port them over to Linux and
provide them to consumer electronic device makers who use the Linux OS in
their products. It clears the way for the new Windows Media 9 series to find
a home on Linux-based set-top boxes, personal video recorders and other
hybrid multimedia devices.

InterVideo, which markets software for DVD editing, distribution and
burning on PCs and consumer electronic devices, said the main components of
the Microsoft technology that will be ported to Linux include the Windows
Media Audio and Video codecs, Windows Media file container, Windows Media
streaming protocols, and DRM support.

“Linux is quickly becoming the platform of choice for consumer
electronics, or CE, manufacturers of cable, Internet and satellite set-top
boxes that are looking to add PVR (personal video recording) and DVD
functionality,” the company said. Intervideo already sells embedded Linux
versions of its popular DVD and DVR PC software for consumer electronics
manufacturers.

Separately, InterVideo announced the launch of its MPEG-4
codecs to support technology for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), which is
styled as the future of FM radio.

The DAB technology promises CD-quality audio and the ability to carry
video, text and images at bit rates between 0.6 to 1.8Mbps – depending on
error protection level. DAB requires only a tiny non-directional stub
antenna for high quality reception without interference or distortion. DAB
multimedia content can even be received and played on small devices like
PDAs with the use of a suitable adaptor.

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