Apple NZ seeks rights to mirror video streams

Apple Computer New Zealand is negotiating to deliver live video streams from BBC World and Bloomberg financial news from its Website as part of the push behind QuickTime 4.0. Support for streamed media is the key new feature in Apple's flagship video technology, which was unveiled this week at the NAB conference in Las Vegas, but sample streaming feeds hosted by Apple in the US have been jammed by demand.

Apple Computer New Zealand is negotiating to deliver live video streams from BBC World and Bloomberg financial news from its Website as part of the push behind QuickTime 4.0.

Support for streamed media is the key new feature in Apple's flagship video technology, which was unveiled this week at the NAB conference in Las Vegas.

Beta testers, including those in New Zealand, have been able for some time to access a Bloomberg service delivered with the QuickTime 4 streaming server for MacOS X – which Apple announced this week would be part of its Darwin open source programme.

Apple says Mac OS X Server can deliver 1000 simultaneous, 20-Kbit/s QuickTime video streams, and at NAB IBM demonstrated a server using the some of the same code that can deliver 18,000 simultaneous streams.

But with the release of a "preview" version of the QuickTime 4 clients for MacOS and Windows, the five streaming servers at apple.com, delivering the BBC , Bloomberg and other content, have been jammed by US users – hence Apple New Zealand's keenness to host them locally.s

"We're just checking through the legality and copyright issues of mirroring here in New Zealand," says Apple general manager Paul Johnston. "Provided we're okay with that we'll be putting it up on our Web site."

Johnston says he is also "in discussion with a couple of people, one of whom is a major provider of services in New Zealand and Australia" for local content to also host on the site.

One sour note for Apple locally has been the news that Final Cut Pro, Apple's major revamp of the video editing and compositing software it bought from Macromedia, is presently NTSC-only and a PAL version is unlikely to be available for another five months.

Apple will nonetheless be showing off Final Cut at its MacOS X Server roadshow, which will tour the university centres in early June, after next month's Apple Developers' conference.

Johnston says MacOS X Server, the first release version of Apple's Unix-based next-generation OS, has already sold to long-term Apple customers.

"Certainly a number of the education establishments have gone for it, - universities, polytechnics, one or two corporates and a number of developers.

"There hasn't been any major breakthrough into new business, although some people are looking at it as a new solution," says Johnston. "What we're doing is soaking up the business that's there – and people who may have been looking to migrate to another server platform have certainly taken this thing and run with it."

Johnston admits he and his staff are as much in thrall of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' carefully-staged product announcements as anyone. He has welcomed the announcement of a 333MHz iMac and expects confirmation of speed-bumped G3s soon.

"But we're obviously all sitting here with baited breaths waiting for Mr Jobs to pull out the P1 (the promised consumer portable Mac) – which could be any time.

"I was talking to a customer yesterday who, provided the product comes in at the right price and performance, will be looking at between 300 and 600 units of the P1. And that's not the only one. I believe we'll ship thousands of that product in its first quarter."

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