With several leading European content and distribution companies announcing new tools and services based around the Microsoft’s Windows Media 9 platform, support for the technology is growing fast.
BBC Technology, Capital Radio, NTL Broadcast, Quantel and many other companies announced that they were either moving to adopt WM9, or were embracing it further in new services.
Because of the breadth of support for the format in the industry, Microsoft has decided to open its specification for the codec by submitting it to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) C24 Technical Committee for consideration as an international standard.
Said Peter Symes, vice president of engineering at SMPTE. "The creation of an international standard based on this compression technology means there will be new choices for organizations that are strongly committed to the use of open standards and to those looking for the maximum level of interoperability in their products."
It will be interesting to see how the providers of the two other main media formats, Real and Apple, a going to react to this news.
Quantel will be using WM9 in its product lines to streamline production processes and improve quality. BBC Technology will be demonstrating its Colledia Control – a system designed to simplify the operation of broadcast equipment and provide workflow throughout the process.
Microsoft have made an improved range of tools available for WM9, such as the File Editor and Batch Encoder – these, coupled with the efficiency of the compression will no doubt have contributed to the uptake of the format.
With Windows Media 9, Microsoft are also finally providing the DRM capabilities they have been aiming towards for the last few years.