A "stage streaming server" solution from Microsoft is nearly here. Publishers will only pay for the amount of content that is actually downloaded This will be made possible by the upcoming deployment of the new Microsoft server which is code-named "Longhorn."

The costs of streaming high quality video through the Internet is a cost factor for publishers and the expected addition of HD content could increase these costs significantly.

Content Delivery Networks  (CDN)such as Akamai, Limelight, Level 3, VeriSign and others are distributing content through broadly deployed networks.  Companies such as Joost and BitTorrent are using peer-to-peer networks to distribute content.

Microsoft is about launch an entirely new video streaming platform called Silverlight. It will be seen most prominently later this summer when Major League Baseball uses it.

Recently in New York, I interviewed Sean Alexander, the Microsoft executive who is heading the marketing of Silverlight. Sean told me that the upcoming deployment of Longhorn servers will be highly efficient for publishers and for the CDN’s who will distribute the new video format around the globe.

Sean also spoke about a new Microsoft offering to video content creators free hosting and streaming account using the Silverlight platform. He said how this works with a new Roxio editing system. We’ve been experimenting with it and it’s pretty easy to use.

(Note:  The video player above might appear to be black.  This is due to a temporary glitch.  Just hit the play button and it will be fine.)

— Andy Plesser

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