Microsoft Windows CE .NET to Enable Next Generation Of IP-Based Set-Top Boxes for DSL Networks

LAS VEGAS, April 8, 2003 — Today at NAB2003, the National Association of Broadcasters convention, Microsoft Corp. announced that the forthcoming release of Microsoft® Windows® CE .NET version 4.2 will include the latest Windows Media®
9 Series, which offers the same video quality in one-third the bit rate of MPEG-2 and one-half the bit rate of MPEG-4 over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, Internet Explorer 6.0, with special support for a richer television Web browsing experience. The company also announced that top silicon vendors ATI Technologies Inc., National Semiconductor Corp., STMicroelectronics and VIA Technologies Inc., and leading set-top box software vendors iMagicTV and Stellar One Corp. will optimize their solutions for the Windows CE .NET operating system. In addition, set-top box original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) CosTron Co. Ltd., HUMAX Co. Ltd., NEC Corp. and Tcom & DTVro Co. Ltd are currently building set-top boxes powered by Windows CE NET.

“IP-based set-top boxes are emerging as a key delivery platform for multiple service operators (MSOs) that are eager to offer television and interactive content services to homes around the globe,”
said Keith White, senior director of marketing of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft.
“Windows CE .NET 4.2 delivers a robust real-time operating system platform to enable the delivery of high-quality video services and Web capabilities. And MSOs can now choose from a broad range of hardware and software providers to help them develop new offerings that are feature-rich and cost-effective, and can be deployed quickly.”

Windows CE. NET

With the release of Windows CE .NET 4.2 in the second quarter of 2003, Microsoft will provide enhanced technologies that enable its industry partners to build richer media and content solutions that include the following:

  • Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series provides enhanced compression that enables full-screen streaming video over existing networks.

  • Internet Explorer 6.0 and enhancements for set-top boxes enable easy navigation with remote controls, Windows Messenger and Microsoft Passport.

  • Digital Rights Management 7.1 provides infrastructure for content protection.

  • Extensive multimedia format support is included: Formats including MPEG-1, MPEG-4 and MP3 are supported in the operating system, enabling OEMs to build devices for a broad range of formats.

Partner Ecosystem

Building on the rich capabilities of Windows CE .NET 4.2, a growing number of industry partners can now deliver innovative software and hardware solutions, including these:

  • CosTron used Windows CE .NET 4.2 to create the CS 300, the most advanced set-top box in its class, with video-on-demand streaming, Internet Explorer 6.0, MSN®
    Messenger chat, digital rights management (DRM) and Internet shopping.

  • HUMAX is building an advanced set-top box optimized for IP multicast broadcast television. Applications will include video on demand, Web surfing, e-mail and games, high-end Web browser applications, and an electronic programming guide.

  • iMagicTV offers a software platform to enable on-demand and broadcast content on multiple devices. This solution includes support for digital-broadcast television and pay-per-view with an interactive programming guide, video on demand and network digital video recorder.

  • NEC, a leading Japanese manufacturer of set-top boxes, will deploy set-top boxes based on Windows CE .NET that include streaming video, residential gateway and personal video recorder capabilities.

  • Stellar One is now shipping StellarTV Client 4 on Windows CE .NET for the delivery of digital television and on-demand services over IP broadband networks. StellarTV Client 4 software benefits service providers and set-top box manufacturers with cost-effective interoperability.

  • Tcom & DTVro is shipping one of the most advanced IP TV set-top boxes based on Windows CE .NET. Boxes include capabilities such as video on demand, games, video phone, voice over IP (VoIP), Web browsing, e-mail, electronic programming guides, and picture-in-picture and picture-in-graphic functionalities. The company is building Windows CE .NET-based high-end set-top boxes with home gateway functionality as well.

In addition, leading silicon vendors ATI, National Semiconductor, ST Microelectronics and VIA are optimizing on their CPUs to deliver cost-effective and flexible solutions for industry partners building on Windows CE .NET 4.2.

“CosTron has been able to develop a rich, multimedia IP-based set-top box using Windows CE .NET 4.2 very quickly,”
said Jin Kwon Kim, lead software engineer at CosTron.
“When compared to alternatives such as Linux, Windows CE .NET has many advantages. The biggest for CosTron was that Windows CE .NET allows our developers to focus on the product and not on learning how to use tools.”

About the Microsoft Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group

Microsoft Windows Embedded operating systems and tools provide comprehensive software platforms for building the next generation of intelligent, 32-bit connected Windows Powered devices that demand rich applications and Internet services for a wide range of flexible solutions. In addition, Microsoft offers a wide range of programs and services designed to meet the specific needs of Windows Embedded customers, industry partners and developers. The Windows Embedded operating systems currently include Windows CE and Windows XP Embedded. The Server Appliance Kit for Windows 2000 helps OEMs build Windows Powered server appliances, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Web servers. Windows CE was honored at the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show for innovations in the category of Software/Embedded Technologies. The Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group also delivers the Windows CE for Smart Displays software technology that powers a wide range of Smart Displays to extend the Windows XP experience to any room in the home. Currently in development is
“Media2Go,”
which is the code name for a new device platform for powering the next generation of portable media player devices that enable consumers to enjoy their videos, music and pictures on the go.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows Media and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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