Corona Tunes in Audio, Not Video

 
 
By John Taschek  |  Posted 2001-12-31 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

At Internet World in New York, Microsoft launched its next version of Windows Media services, code-named Corona. As is typical lately, Microsoft is aiming at the consumer, promising a more TV-like experience.

At Internet World in New York, Microsoft launched its next version of Windows Media services, code-named Corona. As is typical lately, Microsoft is aiming at the consumer, promising a more TV-like experience.

Demonstrations showed Microsoft has almost mastered the audio portions—even in alpha code, Corona streamed Dolby 5.1 stereo thats virtually indistinguishable from normally encoded CDs. Coronas compression algorithm is far more advanced than MP3 technology now and may produce sound thats equivalent to the little-used HDCD audio format.

Corona features a technology that Microsoft calls "stuffing the buffer." This allows the streaming part of an encoded audio to be blasted down to the player at a faster rate (if available) than the bit rate in which the file is encoded. Stuffing allows users to switch among "channels" quickly without the lag time associated with buffering the streams.

Videophiles, however, will still be wanting. Microsofts not even close to bringing a TV-like experience to streaming, although it exists in a fashion with satellite technology via DirecTV or dish networks.

Microsoft will push Windows Medias streaming abilities, add sophisticated digital rights management technology and expand consumer electronic ties. In other words, Microsoft aims to be the leader for content distribution across radio and television.

 
 
 
 
As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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