Microsoft Unveils Digital Broadcasting Strategy at NAB ’97

LAS VEGAS, April 6, 1997 — In today’s keynote address to the National Association of Broadcasters Multimedia World Conference (NAB ’97), Craig Mundie, senior vice president of the consumer platforms group at Microsoft Corp., unveiled Microsoft’s strategy to empower “better PCs and better TVs” capable of receiving a new generation of digital broadcasts. The strategy includes a spectrum of products and standards-based initiatives aimed at developing a strong working relationship with the broadcast industry.

“We are on the brink of a new era of broadcasting and computing; the announcements we are making today will unleash unprecedented innovation and hasten a new era in computing, entertainment and communications,” Mundie said.

For consumers, Microsoft’s digital broadcasting efforts will focus on the following goals:

  • Enabling innovative new forms of video and Web-based content and services

  • Making digital broadcasting accessible to a broad range of consumers, via multiple devices

  • Offering consumers a range of price/performance options for digital broadcast receivers

For the broadcasting industry, Microsoft’s efforts are aimed at creating new business opportunities for broadcasters, consumer electronics and PC hardware manufacturers, Web content developers, and film and video producers.

Following are highlights of Mundie’s keynote speech:

WebTV Networks acquisition. Mundie announced that Microsoft has reached a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held WebTV Networks Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. Steve Perlman, WebTV Networks president, CEO and co-founder, joined Mundie on stage to formally announce the agreement. WebTV Networks offers a complete end-to-end system that provides consumers easy-to-use access to the Internet via television. The WebTV Network Ô service is the first online service that brings high-quality and high-performance Internet access to televisions.

Mundie indicated that WebTV Networks products would be the cornerstone of Microsoft’s long-term effort to combine the best of the Internet and the best of digital television technology.

Broadcasting for Windows
® . Mundie also outlined plans to incorporate key broadcasting-related technology in the future versions of the Microsoft® Windows operating system. Both the upcoming version of Windows, code-named “Memphis,” and the upcoming Windows NT® operating system version 5.0 will incorporate technology previously announced as Broadcast Architecture for Windows, as well as Microsoft NetShow
network multimedia streaming software. These technologies will enable PC users to view traditional television programs, enhanced television programs and Internet broadcasts, and access innovative new services such as personalized news delivery on Windows-based PCs.

Digital TV Standards. While providing no specific details in his keynote, Mundie indicated that Microsoft, with computing-industry leaders Compaq Computer Corp. and Intel Corp., will hold an NAB press conference Monday, April 7, at 4 p.m. PDT to discuss the computer industry perspective on efforts to work with the broadcasting industry to accelerate the ability of consumers to receive and display digital broadcasts when they become a reality in 1998. Mundie added that specific details on how this would impact future PC designs would also be issued at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), which will be held in San Francisco the same week as NAB.

Mundie highlighted the range of technology that Microsoft is bringing to bear on the emerging world of digital broadcasting:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and NetShow 2.0, for viewing Web channels and broadcasts

  • Broadcasting services for Memphis and Windows NT 5.0

  • Windows CE, for viewing broadcast content on consumer appliance devices

  • Windows NT and the DirectX


    set of APIs,
    for digital media content creation and serving

  • Digital television standards activities, to help the broadcast industry develop a flexible approach to digital television

These technologies and initiatives will help in the creation of a new digital broadcasting infrastructure that is multinetwork (terrestrial, satellite, wireless, cable and wire), multiuse (digital video, audio and Web/IP data), and multiresolution (scalable image quality evolving with improving viewing devices and increasing bandwidth).

“These initiatives offer a wealth of new opportunities for content producers, broadcasters, advertisers and equipment makers across the spectrum of production, broadcasting and viewing,” Mundie said.

Producers. Digital broadcasting offers content producers ranging from broadcast video and film producers to multimedia and Web developers the opportunity to “author once, deliver everywhere” with Net-ready, DTV-ready content supporting Web standards.

Broadcasters. Digital broadcasting offers broadcasters the opportunity to offer new subscription services, tap new advertising opportunities, and deliver new video, audio and Web channels within the compressed digital media stream.

Equipment makers. Digital broadcasting will result in a viable pathway for improvements in consumer electronics and computing devices.

To underscore the converging nature of digital broadcasting, Mundie’s keynote was broadcast live on the Internet using NetShow 2.0, Microsoft’s streaming multimedia software. Microsoft is broadcasting six NAB keynote presentations and other conferences with NetShow 2.0.

Microsoft’s corporate booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center (No. 6654) will showcase many of the products discussed in Mundie’s keynote. In addition, Microsoft is sponsoring the What’s New! What’s Cool Internet Theater at the Sands Convention Center. Among topics to be covered in that theater are: streaming media; audio and video e-mail; data broadcasting; intranet issues; advertising, sales and marketing on the Internet; and electronic publishing.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, NetShow and DirectX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

WebTV Networks is a trademark of WebTV Networks Inc.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages

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