MBONE: Multicasting Tomorrow's Internet

Musical Events

Severe Tire Damage was the first live band on the Internet. On June 24, 1993, Severe Tire Damage was broadcast live from the patios of Xerox PARC onto the MBONE, both audio and video. The band was seen and heard live as far away as Australia. Severe Tire Damage multicasts their jam sessions on the MBONE weekly. For more information, see http://www.ubiq.com/std/band.html.

Rolling Stones

One of the most publicized MBONE sessions ever was the Rolling Stones Cotton Bowl concert in Dallas. It was advertised in advance, and they had setup a Web site for people to come and get early information about this upcoming MBONE session. The session was a 20 minute clip of their live concert in Dallas. Even though the event was mostly a clever way of advertising their pay-per-view â offer, it was a technical achievement. The announcement of this session was received with a bit of coolness by the MBONE community because they felt that such a frivolous event was not appropriate on the MBONE, mainly because the MBONE is supposed to be a research platform. However, this event began a new era for the MBONE as it would not only be used for computer and networking research and education, but also more artistic domains could now profit from it. The Rolling Stones concert event is one of the most popular MBONE events ever.

It was nice to hear Mick Jagger say, "I wanna say a special welcome to everyone that's, uh, climbed into the Internet tonight and, uh, has got into the MBONE. And I hope it doesn't all collapse."

The Ryuichi Sakamoto concert

Recently, Ryuichi Sakamoto, a famous New Age musician, broadcasted a show on the MBONE.

The concert was presented live from the Nippon Budohkan in Tokyo. Mr. Sakamoto performed with Daizaburo Harada. For this concert, a temporary satellite station was installed at the Nippon Budohkan. This satellite station broadcasted IP datagrams to several satellite stations of WIDE Network Operation Centers at 2 Mbps.

The Saint John String Quartet concert

The Saint John String Quartet held a concert from the Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, New-Brunswick, Canada, on November 23, 1995. They were performing with Andrew Miller, a double-bassist. This classical concert was the first ever to be broadcasted on the MBONE. The producers of the event were using computel (a proprietary video conferencing system) machines that were connected to a VCR that was doing live conversion to standard video. This concert was broadcasted on both the MBONE and to the CU-SeeMe world using a specially configured reflector.

Vat Radio

For some of us, just listening to the radio isn't good enough -- we want to be the D.J., spinning discs for all the Internet to hear. In fact, folks are already doing this with a resource called Radio Free vat. RFv allows anyone who's connected to the MBONE to check out a chunk of time on a virtual radio station, and play virtual D.J. for a couple of hours to an audience of, well, dozens.

Dave Hayes, a network and systems administrator for the Network Engineering group of JPL, created Radio Free vat. The idea was born quite by accident. "One day, I cross-connected the CD output (of my workstation) with the vat input and wound up broadcasting a couple minutes of a Chick Corea tune over the MBONE audio channel. I quickly noticed my error, cut off the CD, and made apologies on the audio channel." Someone answered back, "If you play music like that, you can play music anytime you want to." "Then it hit me," Hayes said. "I used to D.J. in college... Why not do this over the Internet? So, I started Radio Free vat. I began to play CDs that I liked. Soon, the idea caught on. I wrote a Perl server which handles session conflicts, and we went from there."

The number of MBONE users is rather small, so RFv doesn't have a huge audience -- "The most people I've seen at one time is about 75," Hayes said.

As more users get access to high-bandwidth Internet connections, thanks to affordable services like ISDN, the audience for Radio Free vat will grow. If you thought self-publishing on the web was popular, wait until everyone with a Net connection and microphone can have their own radio show, without so much as a nod from the FCC.

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