A real dotcom is born

Just when the Australian Federal government thought it had internet regulation in the bag, technology has arrived that could open a whole new can of online legal worms.

Australian content providers, according to execs from US-based Real Networks, can now broadcast online movies, music and video clips to a completely unregulated market. Speaking at the local launch of Real Networks, they claimed their streaming audio, video infrastructure and software, would create a broadcasting boom.

To trial the product, RealNetworks last Friday broadcast the debut performance of Australian pop outfit Bardot over its Real Broadcast Network.

Local MD Chris Jacobson said the Real Broadcast Network "performed beautifully", but he was unable to reveal how many Australians logged on to enjoy the show "for customer privacy reasons".

Jacobson defined the company's Real Broadcast Network as "a specialised broadcast network that allows streaming audio and video across the internet."

He explained that RealNetworks partnering ISPs used "splitters", which divide the bandwidth burden of streaming audio and video web broadcasts between ISPs and customers.

The ISPs could "split the signal", enabling the ISP to broadcast just once for every 1000 users.

A broadcast attracting 10,000 visitors required only 10 connections to the original RealNetworks server, whereas previously the server would be required to send the broadcast once for every user, he said.

"It's broadcasting, not multicasting."

Due to the interconnectivity of Australia's three-tier ISP model, Jacobson said local web users can access the Real Broadcast Network via any ISP.

RealNetworks yesterday also launched its Website, real.com.au - a portal to local online broadcast content providers. Jacobson said RealNetworks plans to follow the Bardot spectacle with around the clock seven-days-a-week streaming content.

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