Feeds

Apple, Sun, Cisco et al to set streaming media standard

But so is Microsoft... But so is RealNetworks...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

A bunch of famous companies and a not-so-famous one today unveiled the latest in a very long line of industry bodies to develop a set of open standards, in this case streaming live audio and video over the Net.

The companies, Apple, Sun, Cisco, Philips and... er... Kasenna, will become the first members of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA). Some 24 companies have already expressed their interest in joining, including SGI, Macrovision, nCube and Analog Devices.

Neither Microsoft nor RealNetworks are on the list. ISMA persuaded AOL CTO William Raduchel to give a positive message on the launch statement, but AOL doesn't appear to be a prospective partner either.

ISMA's mission is to develop a way of sending MPEG 4 compressed video, sound and associated data across IP networks. The organisation will begin hosting meetings to discuss how to achieve that goal next February.

In fact, the founder members appear to have got it pretty much sorted out - an initial specification has already been produced we understand - but consultation is key to consensus, and the founders clearly want to be seen to be involving their supporters.

Still, opportunities for greater involvement will come later - ISMA has granted itself quite a wide brief, including quality of service systems, digital rights management and billing (neat nods toward the Napster controversy and the emerging online media market), and "services the marketplace identifies as being critical elements to a complete end-to-end solution".

Of course, there are already solutions in place here, primarily from RealNetworks and Microsoft, and that's really what ISMA is about - it's a competitive move hiding behind a facade of open industry collaboration. Apple's interest here is getting more QuickTime out there - MPEG 4 essentially is QuickTime - and use it to sell Mac servers and desktops for the creation of MPEG 4 content. Sun, on the other hand, gets another open standards stick to beat Microsoft with. Cisco is primarily interested in new functionality that makes people want to buy more routers.

That said, there is a consumer advantage here - the creation of an online media standard ensures users don't need umpteen different player apps just to view content from different sources. Content providers too benefit, from the 'write once, play anywhere' approach to content creation such a standard would provide them.

The trouble is, these arguments apply to any standard, whether developed by consensus, like ISMA, or established through market domination, like RealAudio. Success will only come to ISMA if there's a real move among content providers to support it. Otherwise, it's just one solution among several, especially when the others roll-out MPEG 4-based solutions of their own. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.