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Apple, Ericsson, Sun package MPEG-4 delivery approach

Posted: 18 Feb 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:apple? ericsson? sun microsystems? wireless consumer? mutlimedia?

Apple, Ericsson and Sun Microsystems announced Feb. 12 a relationship based on MPEG-4 that is designed to allow carriers and operators to bridge the gap between content providers and wireless consumers.

The announcement at Apple Computer Inc.'s QuickTime Live show comes amid industrywide concern over details of the MPEG-4 licensing structure, which is causing anxiety among service providers, content developers and users.

The standards-based approach is essentially a means of showing carriers a seamless path for multimedia content from its genesis on Apple QuickTime, through Ericsson's infrastructure and to the end user using Sun Microsystems Inc.'s content-delivery expertise.

According to Jan Olin, solutions product-marketing manager at Ericsson, "We're very close to realizing 3G and its rich multimedia content. This joint relationship demonstrates an end-to-end solution for the delivery of multimedia from the network to devices, all with a common denominator: MPEG-4." All three companies are actively supporting 3GPP, which has MPEG-4 at its core.

From Apple's point of view, this is a means of establishing itself as the premier provider of content for mobile devices. At QuickTime Live Tuesday the company demonstrated its QuickTime 6 player, version 4 of its QuickTime Server and Broadcaster. The latter allows the distribution of content over the Internet by hooking a camera up to an Apple machine.

"Prior to this announcement, content developers used proprietary platforms such as QuickTime Media," said Brian Croll, senior director of software product marketing at Apple. "However, we were actively involved in the development of the MPEG-4 standard [QuickTime was chosen by the International Organization for Standards as the file format for MPEG-4], and now we've pushed this back into our own product line."

The move to standards, said Croll, will speed the acceptance and delivery of multimedia. "It's too big for one company to get out there; we need standards-based development for multimedia to take off," he said. Ericsson is a founding member of the 3GPP, and Apple and Sun are co-founders of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance.

While the Ericsson Content Delivery Solution?the name for the collective?doesn't carry with it any specific additions or packaging to enhance MPEG-4's delivery, according to Vidhi Mallela, product-marketing manager at Sun, that's the whole point. "Anyone can develop to MPEG-4. What's important is that operators realize that a complete solution does exist, regardless of who's involved in the final delivery path."

? Patrick Mannion

EE Times





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