VXtreme Inc. was founded in 1995 to develop and market a complete softwaresolution for high-quality business video over the Internet. The company'sscaleable software-only video solution allowed organizations to create anddeliver high-quality, real-time Internet video without costly upgrades fromexisting computers and networks. VXtreme's product family consisted of the WebTheater Server, Web Theater Client, and Web Theater Producer. You can view one of VXtreme's first press releases about its new product line [http://www.prnewsfire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/27375&EDATE= Here] .
VXtreme was born out of a Virtual Classroom project at Stanford University led by [http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/anoop/default.mspx Anoop Gupta] , a professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Initially the project focused on video compression technologies but when these ideas met the VC community it was found that a full suite of products would be required to compete in the streaming media market space. At that time there were only a small group of companies working on streaming media led by Real Networks. Other founders included David del Val, [http://www.emc.com/about/management/greene.jsp?openfolder=all Diane Greene] and [http://www.gabrielvp.com/team/navinChaddha.htm Navin Chaddha] .
In the summer of 1996, VXtreme signed its first major deal with
CNNfnwhich represented a huge upset to the market leader, Real Networks. A press release about this can be found [http://www.prnewsfire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/27375&EDATE= here] . This deal was put together by Nils Lahr, a CNN Technology Executive and Jamie Rapperport, VXtreme's VP of Sales and Marketing. As a watershed moment in the industry this immediately signified that VXtreme's products were ready to compete at the highest level. CNNfn utilized the software to produce the first automated archival system for broadcast content being encoded real time and made available on the Internet and ignited a race by other broadcasters to follow.
On Aug 5, 1997,
Microsoftacquired VXtreme. The fairly small technical team was moved to Redmond, Washington and became the key engineers in the Windows Media division taking over the NetShow product line. VXtreme was days away from releasing version 3.0 of their product but due to the acquisition, this release became much of the code base for the Windows Media Services and was finally released in 1999. Since then the core Windows Media code base has been mostly untouched for 8 years. Although the Windows Media Player has gone through a few facelifts and minor feature updates and a new VC-1 compliant codec has been introduced, the introduction of SilverLightby Microsoft in April, 2007, represents the first new component to the Windows Media system in nearly 8 years.
VXtreme's main codec internally was called "Squeeze" and to the public it became known as "VXtreme Video Codec V2". After being purchased by Microsoft, portions of this codec were published as suggestions to the MPEG world to become the standard for MPEG4. Initially this caused a bit of an upset with the MPEG Committee, a standards body responsible for reviewing and publishing the final MPEG standards. However time passed and the final MPEG4 specs were released based on global community input.
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