News-making TV service isn’t Microsoft’s

THERE’S been a ton of stories recently suggesting that Microsoft is planning a live TV streaming service for desktop and mobile devices with a product that is “Joost killer”. Only problem is that it’s not Microsoft and it’s not intended to be a Joost killer.

In fact, the much discussed Live Station technology is being developed by Skinkers, a company headquartered in London and the stories doing the rounds are based on some understandable confusion, as Skinkers co-founder Metteo Berlucchi told The INQUIRER today.

Berlucchi said the “Chinese whispers” began after he gave a video interview to Microsoft’s Steve Clayton that was picked up on by bloggers and journalists.

The true history of Live Station is that Skinkers bought the rights to a Microsoft Research project in Cambridge a year ago in exchange for a 10 per cent stake in Skinkers. That project related to being able to push data on peer-to-peer networks. Now, however, all development of LiveStation is by Skinkers, apart from the odd call to the original developers.

Because of the Microsoft connection and because Skinkers calls the project Live Station, some thought that it was part of Microsoft’s Live family of services. Add in the fact that the service users Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in and chaos reined, according to Berlucchi.

“There’s been a lot of confusion with people making two plus two equal 10,” he said. “People call it a Joost killer, which is hilarious because the real title is ‘trying to get television working over the internet’. Microsoft would never do something like launching against Joost. They probably don’t know what Joost is.”

OK, so that’s cleared that up. Now, where is Skinkers with the technology?

Says Berlucchi, the current limited beta signup is due to be opened wider in the autumn before a proper launch tentatively scheduled for the first half of 2008.

“We’re making very good progress,” he said. “We’re fine-tuning the peering because it’s like fine-tuning a Formula One car – you have to go on the track a lot to get maximum performance. The next thing is doing multi-channel because one of the big challenges is channel changing. We think we can get low latency and we’re hoping to do it in the range of Freeview, which is about three seconds to change channels. Then the other step is to get content on there. We would offer the platform to broadcasters. It’s similar to a cable operator like Tiscali or Virgin. Where we think we’re going to be lucky is that the broadcasters all want to simulcast and they’ve already taken the first step to broadcast over IP.”

News source: THEINQUIRER


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