Originally Posted by Real
RealNetworks announces Helix - the first comprehensive, open standard for digital media delivery
RealNetworks forms the Helix Community with support from HP, Intel, Nokia, Oracle, PalmSource, Sony, Sun Microsystems and more than 20 Other Companies and Organizations
San Francisco, July 22, 2002 - RealNetworks®, Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK), the global leader in Internet media delivery, today announced Helix™, the first open, comprehensive platform and community to enable creation of digital media products and applications for any format, operating system or device.
The Helix Platform is based on the industry's most powerful and widely used digital media software technology, with over 1,000 application interfaces. The Helix Community will enable companies, institutions and individual developers to access the Helix Platform source code in order to both enhance the Helix Platform and to build Helix-powered encoder, server and client products. In tandem, the Helix Platform and the Helix Community will provide the standard infrastructure to empower developers, IT companies and CE companies to drive the Internet media industry forward into the future.
"Today is a watershed day for Internet Media Delivery. Since we introduced RealAudio®, the world's first Internet streaming system 7 years ago, the industry has been asking for a comprehensive and open platform that it could standardize and build on. Today, we are fulfilling that longstanding wish with the announcement of the Helix Platform and the formation of the Helix Community," said Rob Glaser, founder and CEO, RealNetworks.
Twenty-nine companies and organizations are supporting the Helix Community: BSquare, CollabNet, Cisco, Hitachi, HP, Intel, Lindows, nCUBE, NEC, Network Appliance, Nokia, Openwave, Opera, Oracle, PalmSource, Phoenix Technologies, Pinnacle Systems, Red Hat, Sony, Speedera, Sprint PCS, ST Microsystems, Sun Microsystems, Symbian, Tao Group, Texas Instruments, TiVO, Volera and Xiph.org Foundation.
"Just like RealNetworks, HP has always offered our customers the widest choice of operating systems and hardware platforms for media delivery - ranging from our handhelds to the best performing media server platforms," said Nigel Ball, vice president, HP Enterprise Solutions Partners. "We applaud the Helix source code initiative, as well as its extensible open media platform that gives companies and individuals more flexibility."
"Sun has a long-standing commitment to leading, supporting and participating in the community's open standards efforts," said Mark Tolliver, executive vice president, Marketing and Strategy, Chief Strategy Officer Sun Microsystems, Inc. "RealNetworks' Helix Community process and its standards-based approach to streaming media solutions is proof that 'open' is a viable and commercially feasible option. We are working with RealNetworks to support streaming delivery infrastructure with the Java™ technology-based Sun™ Open Net Environment to support the development of flexible and easily integrated media applications and services."
"The Helix initiative marks a victory for openness in digital media delivery. Nokia has worked closely with RealNetworks for many years, and we have together built the pioneering mobile media streaming solutions. Through our cooperation, we have witnessed how digital media delivery technologies are moving away from proprietary and towards open solutions, which are prerequisite for successful future mobile services," said Pertti Korhonen, Executive Vice President, Nokia Mobile Software.
RealNetworks also announced today that it has released a family of products built on the Helix Platform, including the Helix Universal Server
Helix Addresses Industry Challenges
As the leader in IP media delivery since 1995, RealNetworks well understands that there are several key challenges faced by the digital media industry. These include: the cost and complexity of supporting multiple formats and architectures; the cost of developing applications in the absence of standardized application interfaces; and the looming increase of these complexities as Internet-delivered media moves beyond the PC to mobile and home devices.
RealNetworks is meeting these challenges through the Helix Platform and Helix Community. The Helix Platform is the next generation of the software engine that has powered RealNetworks' massively popular server and player products for several years, as well as a set of more than 1,000 application programming interfaces for building media applications. The core Helix DNA engine which has been in development for over 7 years, contains millions of lines of code and is the next generation of the system that has been deployed on hundreds of thousands of servers and millions of PCs worldwide.
Via the Helix Community, developers and technology companies will gain access to millions of lines of source code providing a wide variety of capabilities needed to build digital media products, such as live and on-demand streaming, local and remote playback of digital media, and the ability to add new media formats and data types.
"By using Helix's media application platform with Oracle9i Application Server, customers will be able to integrate rich media into their enterprise-class business applications and access it through fixed and wireless Internet devices," said Thomas Kurian, senior vice president, Oracle9i Application Server, Oracle Corporation. "The combination of the Helix media platform and Oracle9i Application Server's advanced multi-channel delivery capabilities will provide a secure, scalable platform for media-rich business services."
"The Helix initiative will provide our Palm Platform developer community the ability to bring new and innovative media products to Palm Powered® devices, leveraging the RealNetworks' technologies," said David Nagel, President and CEO of PalmSource. "We expect that this will accelerate the use of streaming media applications in future mobile devices."
Source Code Licensing
The Helix Community, located at www.helixcommunity.org, will offer two license structures - the RealNetworks Community Source License (RCSL) or the RealNetworks Public Source License (RPSL). Drafts of both licenses are available today on the Helix Community website. The full Helix DNA source code offering, which provides a complete implementation of over 1000 Helix APIs and source code for the core Helix encoder, server and client, will be licensed under the RCSL. The RCSL is structured to ensure that all products built under the RCSL remain compatible with the Helix interfaces.
The RPSL is structured to provide developers greater flexibility in their use of the source code with the requirement that the products they build from it are also open source. The first Helix DNA component to be available under the RPSL will be the Helix DNA Client. RealNetworks welcomes comments on the RPSL and RCSL from interested parties. After incorporating input from third parties, RealNetworks will submit the RPSL to Open Source Initiative (OSI) for certification as an open source license.
RealNetworks intends to make initial client source code - the Helix DNA Client - available to the Helix Community within 90 days. This will promptly be followed by server and encoder source code by the end of the year.
As the inventor of streaming audio and video over the Internet and the leading innovator in this industry, RealNetworks is also licensing to the Helix Community several key patents and pending applications that RealNetworks believes are essential for streaming media content over a network. Participants under the RPSL will enjoy royalty-free patent licenses, and participants under the RCSL will gain patent rights under the royalty schedule associated with the RCSL.
"It's great to see RealNetworks recognizing the power of open source," said Eric S. Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative. "They'll get the reliability and security benefits of peer review, and they are contributing an important capability to the Internet infrastructure."
Industry Support for Helix
"With this announcement, RealNetworks is making a tremendous commitment to build and participate in what will become a large developer community around media player and server software," said Brian Behlendorf, president of the Apache Software Foundation and CTO, CollabNet. "We applaud their commitment to embrace Open Source in a deep and meaningful way."
Hitachi America, Ltd.
"Streaming music and video is a key requirement for next-generation mobile phones where our SH-Mobile Application Processor is targeted," said Eiichi Amada, senior vice president and CTO, Hitachi America, Ltd. "We are pleased to be teaming up with RealNetworks - a leader in this technology - to enable new services."
"Battery-efficient multimedia is a key characteristic of the Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture (Intel PCA)," said Mark Casey, director of marketing for Intel's PCA Component's Group. "We believe having Helix running on Intel® Xscale™ technology will be of great interest to Intel PCA developers."
"nCUBE is the only company to offer cable and broadband network operators comprehensive management systems for advanced on-demand television services," said Michael Pohl, president and chief executive officer, nCUBE Corporation. "nCUBE is excited for the opportunity to deliver highly scalable IP streaming solutions to multiple networks from a single platform, and we applaud RealNetworks for their Helix Initiative that will allow industry leaders to standardize on a common media delivery architecture."
"Openwave recognizes RealNetworks' leadership in multimedia streaming and we applaud its open source approach to mobile audio and video," said Thomas Reardon, vice president of technology for Openwave. "As a market leader in mobile browsers, we look forward to working with the Helix Community to make it easier for handset manufacturers to integrate audio and video into next generation mobile phones."
"It is only natural that media application servers should benefit from the legendary reliability and performance of Linux," said Mike Evans, VP of Business Development of Red Hat. "We applaud RealNetworks for opening up its technologies and starting the Helix Community to enable the creation of innovative open source media applications."
"Under the Ubiquitous 'Value' Network strategy, Sony aims to create a secure, user- friendly environment where people can enjoy a wide variety of online digital media contents via various networked CE devices and PCs. We believe the Helix Community will create this valuable environment where people have easy access to exciting digital content regardless of media format," said Masao Hori, Deputy President of Network & Software Technology Center of Sony Corporation. "As a CE industry leader and with our unmatched experience in meeting customer needs, Sony, together with other world-class participating companies, seeks to make the kind of contributions that will ensure this initiative generates consumer-oriented benefits."
"Sprint clearly has a history of supporting open development communities that drive valuable content for its wireless customers. As the launch of the Sprint Third Generation Network this summer provides us a platform for new and enhanced applications, we support the idea and intent of the Helix Community to foster a thriving environment that could potentially lead to content applications for future services," said Paul Reddick, vice president of business development for the PCS division, Sprint.
"Symbian is providing the open, standard operating system for the emerging generation of advanced mobile phones," said David Wood, executive vice president, Symbian. "We are a strong supporter of collaborative community software initiatives, and are delighted to see how Helix, offered by RealNetworks, builds upon and extends existing open standards. We expect the Helix Community, in conjunction with Symbian OS, to drive flexible and enchanting multimedia-rich applications on mobile devices."
"TI's OMAP platform enables rapid development of 2.5G and 3G wireless devices and multimedia-enhanced applications," said Paul Werp, worldwide marketing director for TI's OMAP platform. "Helix provides OMAP developers and customers with a media application framework that allows them to reach a wide audience while simplifying and lowering development costs."
"TiVo is pleased to support Helix and we believe that Helix Community source code has the potential to drive the adoption of exciting new entertainment options that can be easily enjoyed on products such as the TiVo DVR," said Howard Look, vice president TiVo Developer Studios. "TiVo has always been focused on providing consumers with the best entertainment experience, allowing our subscribers the ability to watch the TV programs they want on their schedules today and to experience other forms of digital media in their living rooms in the future. RealNetworks' Helix initiative shows a shared vision towards this future."
"The Helix initiative is an interesting opportunity for the open source community," said Emmett Plant, CEO, Xiph.org Foundation. "By offering the protocol engine to the open source community, RealNetworks is taking the first real step in making an investment in open technologies, and that's exciting. It's not often that an industry leader gives people the opportunity to have a say in the future of an interoperability standard. Looking beyond the immediate advantage of being able to take an active role in the Helix Platform, it will also be interesting to see what new and exciting things the open source community will be able to build with this new code."
Helix is a platform and a community for the standardization and expansion of digital media. The Helix Platform consists of source code for creation, delivery and playback of digital media developed by RealNetworks over the past eight years, as well as a set of interfaces for building media-enabled applications. Helix Community members will be able to use this source code to build media-capable products with industry-leading technology and commonly used interfaces. The Helix Community offers source code of the Helix Platform under community and open source licenses. RealNetworks has also released a family of products built on top of the Helix Platform, including the Helix Universal Server.
RealNetworks, Inc. is the global leader in Internet media delivery. It develops and markets software products and services designed to enable users of personal computers and consumer electronic devices to send and receive audio, video and other multimedia services using the Web. Consumers can access and experience audio/ video programming and download RealNetworks' consumer software on the Internet at www.real.com. RealNetworks' systems and corporate information is located on the Internet at www.realnetworks.com.