Microsoft Windows to Deliver Digital TV Experience

LAS VEGAS, April 6, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the next releases of the Microsoft® Windows® and Windows NT® operating systems will enable PCs to receive video and digital data from existing satellite, cable and terrestrial broadcast sources. Effective with these new versions, every copy of Windows shipped is expected to include the ability to receive interactive entertainment and information delivered via the high-speed nationwide television networks. The enabling hardware for this technology is expected to add a nominal amount to the cost of PCs.

“With this innovative technology, PCs running Windows can deliver the benefits of digital TV and high-speed Internet ‘push’ technology in one cost-effective package,” said Jim Allchin, senior vice president of the platforms group at Microsoft. “The combined power of television and the PC promises to revolutionize the way we use TVs and PCs, purchase goods and services, access the Internet, and communicate with friends and family.”

“The ability for PCs to receive NBC’s current television programming combined with NBC’s ability to enhance that programming for PC viewers is an exciting concept,” said Marty Yudkovitz, president of NBC Interactive. “We anticipate that our digital television signal, in the future, will be received by computers as well as digital television sets.”

“Imagine TV sports events where the viewer can receive instantly updated statistics and information about their favorite players, or game shows where viewers can play along with the contestants on TV,” said Brian J. Connors, vice president of IBM’s consumer division. “TV will never be the same again, and today’s announcement is just the first step toward a larger vision of easy-to-use connected information and entertainment appliances and devices that IBM believes will ultimately be a part of every home.”

New Features

Beginning with the next release of Windows 95 (code-named “Memphis”), new versions of Windows will deliver the following:

  • A TV viewing experience that can be seen on small- or large-screen PC monitors or on TVs connected to PCs. Microsoft is providing new user interface elements for Windows for use with a remote-control device, allowing customers to control the PC from a single device and electronically search the program schedule for their favorite shows.

  • A common data networking capability built on broadcast, cable and satellite services. Speeds will range from 9600 bits per second to 30 megabits per second in the case of satellite transmission, allowing fast downloads from the Internet without requiring the use of a telephone line.

  • An easy, and inexpensive, upgrade path from analog TV to digital TV when broadcasters begin to transmit digital signals. Customers will simply have to add a digital tuner card to their existing PCs.

  • The digital TV experience today, by allowing customers to begin viewing and using enhanced television programming material right away, at an added incremental price lower than a digital set-top box or digital television

  • Integration with the Microsoft NetShow
    server for delivering data and video over IP-based connections.

New Opportunities

The combination of full-motion video and data provides new business opportunities for broadcasters, cable companies and satellite operators to generate revenue by creating a new inventory of interactive advertising space, subscription revenue and transactions.

Television producers will have an open creative palette to produce compelling enhanced television with interactive elements such as games, chat, voting and the Internet. Internet site builders and software vendors will be able to use true push technology to broadcast multimedia-rich Internet content and software to consumers, without tying up customers’ telephone lines. Virtually any kind of data could be transmitted to Windows, including software upgrades, Web site information, stock tickers, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 Active Desktop content, and enhanced television programming.

Television production companies that recognize the business and creative opportunity to produce new, interactive versions of their television programs include Big Ticket Television (Spelling Entertainment), Glen Larson Entertainment Network Home and Garden Television, NBC, North Hall Productions, Recovery Network, Sci-Fi Channel, USA Network, TV Food Network and The Zalman King Co.

Additional companies that have said they intend to develop technologies and services for the new versions of Windows span every industry involved in technology convergence. They include Adaptec Inc.; AST; ATI Technologies Inc.; Brooktree Division of Rockwell Semiconductor Systems; Cirrus Logic Inc.; Compaq Computer Corp.; Comspan Communications; ComStream Corp.; CyberSource Corp.; DIRECTV; DIRECTV Japan; Fujitsu Ltd.; Gould Resources and Internet Telecommunications (GRIT); Guthy Renker; Hitachi Ltd.; Hughes Network Systems Inc.; IBM Corp.; Micron Electronics; Ministry of Film; Mitsubishi Electric Corp.; MSN
, The Microsoft Network; NEC; News Digital Systems; Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.; Norpak Corp; PerfecTV Corp.; Princeton Graphics Systems; RYSHER Entertainment; Samsung Information Systems America; Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd.; SGS-Thomson Microelectronics Inc.; Sharp Corp.; Sony; StarSight Telecast Inc.; Telesaurus REX; Thomson Consumer Electronics; Toshiba U.S.A.; Toshiba Corp.; Tseng Labs Inc.; VLSI Technology Inc.; and WavePhore Inc.

For further information, please visit the Microsoft Web site at . Additional information on hardware guidelines supporting this announcement will be released at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in San Francisco April 8-10.

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 MSN 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.

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