WebTV Networks Inc has introduced its VideoFlash video technology which it claims will offer full-screen television-quality video over its Philips Electronics NV and Sony Electronics Corp – manufactured machines. The Palo Alto, California pioneer is claiming software compression between three and ten times faster than the MPEG compression format. The company will stream video down at 33.6kbps to a quarter of the screen, and download a whole screen in about three minutes, which it reckons is about a tenth of the time for rival technologies. The software will be free to users, some time this year, though the company wouldn’t commit to a particular quarter. It’s perhaps no surprise that WebTV has come up with such a technology, as it was developed by WebTV research fellow Peter Barrett, who invented the CinePak internet video standard, now in the hands of Adobe Systems Inc, and by Bruce Leak, co-founder and chief operating officer of WebTV who created Apple QuickTime and QuickDraw. The Yankee Group reckons homes that already have online access in some form, rather than homes that have an unconnected personal computer or no computer at all, are WebTV’s best bet in the short term.