LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced agreements with three leading television production system providers — Chyron Corp., Louth Corp., and Peak Broadcast Systems — as well as a letter of intent with Avid Technology Inc. and a letter of understanding with Associated Press’ Electronic News Production System (ENPS) to work together to support the Microsoft® TV Platform. Each has plans to build interactive television capabilities into their product lines. Today’s announced collaboration brings the television industry several steps closer to everyday delivery of enhanced television content. These and other possible future agreements will enable the creation of mainstream interactive television by integrating production capabilities in the systems and tools the television industry uses today.
In supporting the Microsoft TV Platform, these tool providers will offer content creators such as broadcasters, cable channels, production and post-production houses, and journalists the ability to generate interactive programming that is compliant with the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification. Having great tools from the most advanced and recognizable productions system providers in the industry will allow broadcasters and producers to easily differentiate their programming and brand as well as attract and retain new viewers.
“We are pleased to be able to work closely with the market leaders in television production tools to help them include interactive capabilities in their products,”
said Jon DeVaan, senior vice president, TV Service and Platform Business at Microsoft.
“A growing number of major players in the television industry as well as new start-up companies are interested in adding interactive television support to their products. We will continue to work with companies in this growing industry to address their needs so that we can bring the most innovative viewing experience to television consumers.”
Associated Press’ ENPS
Introduced in 1997, AP’s Electronic News Production System has quickly become broadcasting’s most popular new newsroom system and is now under contract for more than 100 networks, television stations and radio stations at 210 sites in 26 countries. Its powerful features include scripting, program rundowns, planning, contacts, messaging, archiving, third-party device control, external publishing, news wire management, full-text searching, tightly-integrated resilience capabilities and the ability for journalists to work in almost any language. Designed to meet the changing needs of all types of broadcast news environments, ENPS leverages proven, standard desktop and server hardware and operating systems backed by global AP resources. ENPS is a complete solution using a full suite of Microsoft developer tools and technology based on the Microsoft Windows NT® operating system and the Visual Studio® development system.
“These development efforts will integrate ATVEF-compliant interactive television tools in newsrooms around the world,”
said Lee Perryman, deputy director of AP’s Broadcast Division and director of Broadcast Technology.
“Eventually, journalists will be able to add interactive triggers and Web-based information to their newscasts as a routine part of the traditional production process.”
Avid Technology Inc.
Avid Technology Inc. is an industry-leading provider of digital audio and video tools for information and entertainment applications. The company’s products are used by media professionals worldwide, including feature film, television and interactive content producers, TV news broadcasters, corporate communicators and consumers. In 1999, 96 percent of the fall prime-time television shows are being edited using the Avid Media Composer and Avid Film Composer systems. Avid intends to stay at technology’s forefront as broadcast television becomes more interactive.
“At Avid, we are excited about the future of interactive television and streaming video, and we are very pleased to be working with Microsoft to bring these new technologies to market,”
said David Krall, Avid’s president and chief operating officer.
“We see an increasing demand for interactive technologies in broadcast television and we plan to support this emerging market through a variety of products ands solutions.”
Chyron Corp. is a leading innovator in the development of television graphics and distribution systems, including products to meet the demands of digital and high-definition television. Chyron provides a broad range of leading-edge hardware and software products, including paint and animation systems, character generators, signal distribution systems, master control switchers and broadcast animation and media management packages.
“We look forward to working with Microsoft to add interactive television capability to our character generators that are already in use in most television production studios,”
said Roger Henderson, president and CEO of Chyron.
“With Microsoft’s help, we’re putting cutting-edge interactive television tools into the hands of leading broadcasters, cablecasters, satcasters and production houses.”
Louth Corp. is a premier supplier of media management and automation systems for broadcast and cable television. Louth products automate over 3,000 channels at broadcast and cable stations worldwide and support a broad range of broadcast devices.
“We are pleased to be part of Microsoft’s effort to help make interactive television a standard component of the conventional broadcast system. Facilities that use the Louth system will now have the option to add interactive television data scheduling and playout along with existing audio and video control capability,”
said Rick Swiers, director of product marketing for Louth.
Peak Broadcast System
Peak Broadcast Systems’ products are utilized for the creation of real-time 2-D and 3-D graphic animations for news, sports and other programming. The Peak system is an innovative television production system that runs on the Windows NT platform. Compared to traditional production systems composed of many disparate hardware and software components, Peak is a suite of totally integrated on-air production tools. In addition to standard graphics production, the Peak system can render real-time 3-D graphics and includes a complete system for television weathercasts, a mapping system and a 3-D virtual set that allows broadcasters to create sets as graphics files that display as 3-D objects.
“Our customers here in the United States, as well as overseas, welcome the Microsoft TV Platform authoring tools as yet another path to provide their audiences with enhanced and enriched versions of their media content while simultaneously promoting their brand image to the constantly growing Web audience,”
said Isaac Hersly, president and CEO of Peak Broadcast Systems USA.
“The tools’ ease of use, required to produce interactive content, will further add to the success of this new offering.”
Microsoft is also planning to work with 12 other broadcasters, production software tool developers, production and broadcast systems integration and management tool companies that are focused on new media to help them bring innovative new forms of entertainment, communication, information and e-commerce to consumers via television. These companies include the following: BSQUARE Corp., ETV Tools Inc., ExtendMedia Inc., Intel Corp., Grass Valley Products, Leapfrog Productions, Lysis SA, Public Broadcasting System, RespondTV Inc., Tektronix Inc., Vertigo Multimedia and Wink Communications Inc.
New Tools Developer Support Organization Formed
Microsoft has also created an interactive broadcast tools developer organization to support and educate ITV tools and application developers. The first Microsoft TV Solution Provider ITV Tool Program training conference for interactive television tool developers was held Dec. 9 at the Microsoft campus. The group will continue its education efforts as the market for interactive television grows.
“We are excited by the widespread support we’ve seen from across the industry in just the six months since we announced product details of the Microsoft TV Platform,”
“Together with these companies, we can begin providing viewers with rich, new, enhanced television experiences unlike anything they are watching now.”
About Microsoft TV Platform
The Microsoft TV platform is a comprehensive software solution for the television industry that makes television more useful, fun and engaging for consumers and creates significant new economic opportunities for network operators and their suppliers of programming, hardware and software. The client software, Microsoft TV, operates a range of TV-centric appliances, from advanced set-top boxes to integrated televisions. Microsoft TV Server is a suite of software components that offers network operators the tools to provision, manage and operate a large-scale, commercial-grade enhanced TV service.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software 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.
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