RealNetworks Inc will today declare itself the leading content streaming software vendor in the wireless world with the announcement that 25 EMEA operators have bought into its streaming media server. The company will back its claims with a deal to supply client software to Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB and the launch of a new middleware product designed to connect its streaming server to operational and business support systems.
Telefon Italia Mobile and Wind in Italy, Telefonica Moviles in Spain, TeliaSonera in Sweden and Finland, and O2 in the UK, are the highest profile names among the latest crop of operators to choose the Helix platform for their media streaming requirements.
They join UK-based Vodafone, which announced a similar deal with RealNetworks across its footprint late last June. The company claims a total of 35 mobile operator customers around the world.
The deals would appear to secure RealNetworks’ position as the undisputed leader in the mobile streaming space. Rivals such as Emblaze Systems Ltd, PacketVideo Corp, which sold its streaming server division to Alcatel last November, and Microsoft Corp have failed to match its success with operators in the mobile streaming space, according to Lee Joseph, general manager mobile products and services, RealNetworks.
Does Emblaze or PacketVideo scale? Joseph told ComputerWire. I can tell you there’s not much money being spent in this space today. Microsoft won’t be strong anywhere except on the business side. I don’t know any operators using Microsoft [for streaming]. They had relationships with T-mobile and Orange but they were nothing to do with streaming.
Joseph puts much of RealNetworks’ success in mobile streaming down to the strength of its developer community and its eschewing, so far, of the industry standard MPEG-4 media format.
We believe in MPEG-4 and 3GPP but we don’t think people looked at their homework – whoever owns the subscriber is who pays the license. [Meanwhile] millions of pieces of content are created each week in Real media formats.
As soon as standards are clear and as good quality as Real media we’ll do the switch. At the end of the day it’s the content providers that make the decision. Not your Mr handset manufacturer, not your Mr operator. This is not about technology.
Despite the new deals, Joseph is concerned that mobile operators are not capitalizing on the possibilities raised by streaming over 2.5G networks and are instead waiting for their 3G networks to come on stream before offering services.
Helping to prove Joseph’s point, RealNetworks will also announce a deal with Sony Ericsson to supply its RealPlayer client software on future mobile devices, the first of which should launch before the end of the year. Devices such as Symbian-powered P800 and P900 have previously used client software from PacketVideo.
Reinforcing RealNetworks’ mobile streaming expansion on the back end are upgrades to the company’s Helix Mobile Producer mobile content creation environment, and the launch of Helix Service Delivery Suite, a middleware product designed to tie the streaming media infrastructure into mobile operators’ back-end systems.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire