Microsoft Helps Broadcasters Embrace Enhanced TV and Digital Media

LAS VEGAS, April 10, 2000 — At this week’s National Association of Broadcasters NAB2000 conference, Microsoft Corp. and WebTV Networks, Inc. are making a series of announcements showcasing how broadcasters can develop new business opportunities with interactive television and digital media services. Microsoft’s booth, No. S4920 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, and the Windows Media™ Partner Pavilion, Booth S5825, highlight the company’s vision to provide innovative technology and tools to make enhanced television a reality and accelerate the availability of broadband services for consumers.

Microsoft efforts have focused on leading the way in helping broadcasters realize the incredible opportunities digital media and interactive television bring to the broadcasting industry. Microsoft leadership is demonstrated by its popular enhanced TV service, WebTV Network™ ; by delivering best-of-breed software technologies such as the Microsoft Ò TV platform and Windows Media Technologies; by forging strategic relationships with important leaders in the digital media and television production industries; and by helping to develop standards for broadband content delivery, streaming media and interactive TV content development.

At NAB2000, Microsoft is highlighting examples of progress and innovation in these key areas:

  • Demonstrating the WebTV Network service, the most popular enhanced television service today, which supports more than 500 hours of interactive programming per week.

  • Demonstrating broad industry support for the Microsoft TV platform and the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification. Microsoft announced alliances with three additional leading television production system providers – Grass Valley Group, Vertigo Multimedia and Video Design Interactive – to help broadcasters easily build interactivity into their production process without the need to increase staff or facilities.

  • Introducing Windows Media Technologies 7, the only Internet broadband-ready platform designed for the creation, distribution and playback of broadcast-quality digital media. Windows Media Technologies 7 will uniquely enable customers to realize the promise of Internet broadband with new technologies to enable broadcast-quality video, CD-quality audio, end-to-end secure content distribution, extraordinary reliability and scalability, and an open, easy-to-use and extensible platform.

  • Introducing the industry’s first true-to-the-source streaming screen capture technology as part of Windows Media Technologies 7. This is the first technology to capture and stream computer screen motion – without any loss in image quality or screen content – for distance education, training, software demonstrations and more.

  • Hosting
    “Building Blocks for Interactive Television,”
    a daylong developer conference on Sunday, with more than 400 registered attendees representing broadcast tools vendors, broadcasters and new media developers who are interested in learning about interactive television opportunities and how to take advantage of them.

  • Helping to take the work of the ATVEF a step further by joining several other companies from the content, delivery and technology markets in forming the Advanced TV Forum. This new industry group will enable the commercial implementation of next-generation television.

  • Announcing its active participation as a founding member in the TV Anytime organization, which is helping to develop standards to guide the evolution of digital video recording.

“We are very excited by the breadth and depth of support we’ve seen for the Microsoft TV platform, the WebTV Network service, Windows Media Technologies and interactive programming,”
said Jon DeVaan, senior vice president, Microsoft Consumer Group.
“Interactive TV gives broadcasters the means to reach out and engage the television viewer in new ways that can result in increased loyalty, retention and revenues. We’re proud of the pioneering work that we and our industry partners have done to help bring this exciting new world to TV viewers today.”


As part of its overall industry support and recognized leadership, Microsoft executives will be participating in several key panels during the conference:

Webcasting – Hype or the Next Generation of TV

Featuring Will Poole, vice president, Digital Media Division, Microsoft
Monday, April 10, 10:30 a.m.-noon
Venetian, Ballroom G/H/I

Webcasting is one of the hottest technologies on the Internet today. Question is, who’s doing it and who’s paying the bills? Meet the CEOs and founders of the most successful webcasting companies and the webcasters themselves who will show you how to make money on the Internet.

Super Session – Electronic Commerce: It’s E-Business or No Business

Featuring Jon DeVaan, senior vice president, Consumer Group, Microsoft
Tuesday, April 11, 9 a.m.-noon
Venetian, Ballroom G

“A New Way of Thinking

–The Internet is challenging our traditional business models and forcing broadcasters, advertisers and retailers to think in terms of new one-to-one relationships. Bandwidth is increasing rapidly to keep pace with the ‘Net generation and soon a world of products and services will be at the fingertips of everyone, everywhere. Are you ready for the opportunity of the century?

Data Broadcasting and DTV – Making It Work

Featuring Paul Mitchell, group manager, Interactive Television, Microsoft
Tuesday, April 11, 9:50-10:15 a.m.
Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N247

Additional revenue streams, new business models, the future of television — you’ve been hearing about it for years. Is data broadcasting finally ready for prime time? If it is, you will need to make it work. Learn the choices for broadcasters and the engineering challenges as we enter the world of information technology.

Enhanced TV and Interactivity: Driving the Future of Television

Featuring Phil Goldman, vice president, TV Platform Group, Microsoft
Wednesday, April 12, 2-6 p.m.
Venetian, Ballroom G/H/I

Are you ready for the challenge of interactivity? It’s been talked about for years and modeled in a variety of forms – with little success. As the millennium dawns, new technologies are becoming available for content producers and consumers that will forever change the way we experience television. The experts say smart set-top boxes will be the trend allowing a continuous flow of integrated entertainment and information to and from a variety of platforms – traditional broadcasts, Internet, satellite and cable. True convergence is only a click away.

Super Session — Enhanced TV and Interactivity: Driving the Future of Television

Joe Poletto, vice president, Network Media Group, WebTV Networks
Wednesday, April 12, 2-6 p.m.
Venetian, Ballroom G

Interactivity with the TV screen is very new. While broadcasters debate their digital future, personal video recorders (PVRs) have hit the marketplace providing a preview of how consumers may interact with their TVs. Can such interactivity change the landscape of advertiser-supported television, or can broadcasters and content providers maintain control, seize the moment, and develop new revenue opportunities?

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies, which includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and the Windows Media SDK, is available for download at . The Windows Media Player is the fastest-growing digital media player and is available in 24 languages. To date, there are over 100 million licensed copies of the Windows Media Player, growing by more than one every second.

About Microsoft TV

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, the Microsoft TV platform, 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.

The Microsoft TV platform supports worldwide digital TV broadcast standards, including DVB, ATSC and ARIB. It also supports commonly used Internet standards such as HTML, JavaScript and Dynamic HTML, as well as all interactive content authored according to the ATVEF standard.

About WebTV Networks

WebTV Networks, Inc. is a leading provider of enhanced TV services using Internet and digital technologies. WebTV Networks offers a range of enhanced TV services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other TV-related devices. Today, these services include the WebTV Classic service, the WebTV Plus service, and WebTV Personal TV service. WebTV Networks owns and operates a network of TV services and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers.

WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to television network operators worldwide.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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.

Some information contained in this document relates to pre-release software product which may be substantially modified before its first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the software product when first commercially released. This document is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to this document or the information contained in it.

Microsoft, Windows Media and WebTV Network 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.

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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