An ‘always on’ experience

The next version of the Windows Media Technologies platform, code-named ‘Corona,’ delivers what Microsoft call an ‘instant-on, always-on’ experience.

In his keynote address at the Streaming Media East 2001 in New York City, Will Poole, vice president of Microsoft’s Windows Digital Media Division, previewed the next version of the Windows Media Technologies platform, code-named ‘Corona.’

The new Corona software aims to dramatically improve Web-based streaming, delivering what Microsoft call an ‘instant-on, always-on’ experience, as well as home theatre-like audio and video quality to broadband PC users. According to Poole, Corona improves the efficiency of new Windows Media audio and video technology by 20%, delivering a better sound quality and a clearer full-screen video than before.

At the high end, Microsoft is introducing two new professional-level audio and video codecs. The new Windows Media Audio Professional codec will enable Web-based delivery of 5.1 multi-channel surround sound, while a new Windows Media Video codec will provide HDTV-like video quality in half the space of today’s DVD files.

Corona will also enable application developers to deliver new products and services built on Windows Media via a new plug-in model for the player, server and encoder.

An improved software development kit will allow developers to incorporate digital media into their applications, using programming languages they already know. Corona will offer more than 1,000 platform APIs and support for seven programming languages for plug-in development.

The first Corona ‘deliverable’, Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server, is already available for beta testing to subscribers of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) program and the TechNet Plus program.

The remaining Corona technologies, including new versions of Windows Media Player, Windows Media Audio and Video codecs, Windows Media Encoder, and a new Windows Media Software Development Kit, will be available for beta testing early next year.

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