Barix and StreamGuys, Inc. Announce Availability of PC-Free Streaming

Posted in Announcement, Partners, Streaming on Aug 21, 2006

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, August 21, 2006 – Barix AG, a pioneer in IP-based audio, intercom and control/monitoring, today announced the sale and delivery of its Instreamer and Exstreamer IP audio encoding and decoding devices to Vermont Public Radio and WMHT, a public broadcaster based in the Capital District of New York. The deliveries are the first through Barix’s alliance with StreamGuys, Inc., a Northern California-based content delivery network. The agreement, signed earlier this year, allows Streamguys, Inc. to offer its customers PC-free hardware solutions for broadcasting and receiving streaming media over the Internet, using Barix products at the core of the solution. Jonathan Speaker, COO, is enthusiastic about the partnership between the two companies, with Barix acting as the stream converter and StreamGuys, Inc. as the stream distributor. He notes that broadcasters and program syndication services who use satellites to distribute program content may realize significant savings by switching to an Internet-based solution using Barix appliances and his company’s delivery infrastructure.

“There are tremendous opportunities for broadcasters to reduce costs and create new revenue streams,” said Speaker. “Broadcasters can create new revenue opportunities by developing and streaming content which is different than what is offered to the over-theair broadcast audience.”

Vermont Public Radio (VPR), based in Colchester, is discovering a variety of potential applications through the Barix/StreamGuys, Inc. alliance. “VPR provides streaming coverage of Vermont state legislative sessions, and we plan to update the PC-based system with the Barix Instreamer to get the signal from the state house to our capital news bureau and on to StreamGuys, Inc. for broadcast over the Internet,” said Rich Parker, Director of Engineering. “Since Instreamer supports eight connections, one will go to StreamGuys, Inc. and the others can be used for reporters in the field or other inhouse applications.” The system is scheduled to rollout by January 2007.

Parker cites several advantages to the Barix Instreamer solution when compared to conventional PC-based streaming. “Since Instreamer is a dedicated box, there are no hassles with operating system upgrades, crashes, or viruses. Once they are preconfigured, Instreamers can be installed by novices with no technical experience. The low heat load makes them suitable for cramped locations where a computer might overheat, and the price point makes them more affordable than PCs.”

Parker envisions other applications for the Barix technology, including statewide transmitter confidence monitoring from VPR headquarters; and multi-room broadcasting of its signal in large industrial buildings with poor reception.

Public broadcaster WMHT operates a television station and three radio services in New York's Capital District, including WMHT-FM, WBKK-FM and RISE, a radio reading service for the visually impaired. Chief Technology Officer Anthony Tassarotti uses the Barix Instreamer to send streams of the radio signals to StreamGuys, Inc. for broadcast over the Internet. He cites the simplicity of setup and high quality of customer service from StreamGuys, Inc. as reasons for their decision.

Tassarotti is particularly pleased with the success of the Barix appliance with RISE. “This signal has traditionally been broadcast over an FM subcarrier, which has many problems with noise, multipath and poor reception, in addition to the expense of subcarrier receivers for the visually impaired. The streamed RISE audio has much better sound quality than what is possible with the FM subcarrier system. Many of our visuallyimpaired subscribers are computer-savvy, so this turns out to be a more cost-effective way to distribute the signal.”

Tassarotti adds that the low cost of the Barix Instreamer, when compared to a PC solution, makes experimentation more feasible. “There may be more creative applications for streaming around the station, and we're free to try new ideas without investing a lot of time and money.” One such application was using Barix appliances to distribute the WBKK off-air signal to the studio location, where reception is poor.

“Barix is pleased to announce that these two important customer wins are a direct result of our relationship with StreamGuys, Inc.,” said Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO of Barix. “Their knowledge and expertise will play a key role in the introduction of Barix technology to U.S. broadcasters. The Vermont Public Radio and WHMT applications are strong examples of the flexibility and professionalism afforded by Barix IP-based audio products, at a very reasonable price.”

StreamGuys, founded in 2000, offers affordable, high-quality streaming solutions to broadcasters. Acting as a “broadcast tower” on the Internet, StreamGuys, Inc. distributes live and on-demand video and audio content, podcasting, subscription systems and protected content. StreamGuys services are scalable as the need dictates, and can benefit both small and large broadcasters.

The Barix Instreamer is a stand-alone network audio encoder that converts source audio to MP3 format, which it streams over the Internet to a target location. The Barix Exstreamer, a real-time network audio decoder, sits at the receiving end and converts streaming audio sources to analog audio.

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