Microsoft touts consumer benefits of broadband media

Consumers could be main beneficiaries of Microsoft's broadband group hug.

Microsoft and more than 35 of its closest industry pals chose this week's Digital Hollywood conference in LA to showcase a new consumer broadband initiative.

Major contributors to the Microsoft cause include content providers, hosting companies, encoding specialists, content delivery networks, Internet advertising services and ISPs.

The full run down looks something like this:

Content-delivery: Akamai Technologies, iBEAM Broadcasting, INTERVU, and Sandpiper Networks.

Caching systems: InfoLibria, Inktomi, and Network Appliance.

DSL Access: Rhythms NetConnections, NorthPoint Communications, Covad Communications, Jato Communications, and First World Communications.

Cable Access: RoadRunner (which services Time Warner and MediaOne), and High Speed Access.

Content developers and distributors:,, Digital Entertainment Network, Entertainment Boulevard,,, Intertainer,,, Launch Media, MSNBC, Music Choice, Pseudo Programs,,,,, ValueVision Interactive/,, World Wrestling Federation and WWW.COM.

Internet advertising services: Engage Technologies

Jae Kim, analyst for Paul Kagan Associates remarked in a statement: "This collaborative effort from some of the industry's leading players could solve the broadband dilemma facing the streaming media industry's quest to become a viable business."

Microsoft claims the Windows Media & Trade Broadband Jumpstart initiative will deliver near-broadcast-quality streaming video and audio content to consumers by the end of the year.

The effort is intended to accelerate consumer broadband adoption, with a 100 percent increase in usage the target for the next twelve months.