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Coming Soon to a Computer Near You

VBrick Systems is shipping a video-on-demand network appliance that supports Microsoft Windows Media (WM) video and audio formats in enterprise environments.

The VB6000 WM Appliance enables IT to provide live and streaming video services on corporate networks without having to deploy video capture cards, multiple servers and additional desktop software, according to company officials.

Based in Wallingford, Conn., VBrick Systems specializes in video technologies for education, government and corporate applications. For instance, a university could use VBrick’s products to support several scenarios, including on-demand learning and entertainment, virtual classrooms, campus monitoring, event broadcasting and distance learning.

Windows Media support joins other formats that VBrick’s products already support – MPEG 1, 2 and 4. The unit itself is about the size of a standard dictionary and can stream full-motion video at rates from 8 Kbps to 2 Mbps.

“In the petrochemical business, what they do with [VBrick’s products] is take live video from the drill head out on an oil platform so that experts back on land can be seeing [the drilling process] in real time,” says Fred Geyer, CEO of VBrick Systems. Network latency with VBrick’s technology is less than 180 ms and the resolution is “like DVD video,” he adds.

“It lets [enterprise] organizations build their own internal cable TV network,” adds senior product manager Andy Howard.

The VB6000 WM can deliver a single live Windows Media video with audio broadcast – multicast -- to all network users using a single VBrick appliance, and it supports up to 200 separate – unicast -- Windows Media sessions simultaneously. High-quality video can be delivered to existing desktops as well as personal digital assistants (PDAs), set top boxes, and other devices without requiring any additional plug-ins or players.

VBrick Systems’ VB6000 WM starts at $4,595 for a single-channel unit or $7,495 for a dual-channel system, capable of providing real-time, two-way interactive streaming. A scheduling module is available as an add-on.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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