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Video Servers Aimed At The Corporate Cosmos

Bits & Bytes


Despite all the dazzling visions of interactive TV, most of the computer industry's major players have sold only a few so-called video servers to deliver video to homes. And those were mostly to cable companies running consumer trials of movies-on-demand. Sun Microsystems Inc. figures a bigger near-term market will be businesses that want to distribute training films, run informational kiosks, and do videoconferencing. So on Oct. 3, Sun will team up with Starlight Networks of Mountain View, Calif., to offer a corporate video server.

The problem in putting video on corporate networks is that video data must be sent in a continuous stream, which can slow all other traffic to a crawl. Starlight's software gives priority to video over regular data, which can tolerate slight delays. Starlight already sells the software for small, dedicated video networks that can't handle more than 40 personal computers. But the Sun servers, which will be able to run hundreds of "clients," can simultaneously run the Starlight software and the database programs many companies already have on Sun servers. The Starlight software costs $25,000 for the 40-client version. It will run on Sun's SparcServer 20 machines, which start at $13,000.EDITED BY IRA SAGER

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