NEW ORLEANS, May 8, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today kicked off its presence at Cable 2000 by announcing the Microsoft® TV Platform family of technologies, an open, standards-based solution that provides the most comprehensive and scalable platform for enabling enhanced-TV services. The Microsoft TV Platform now includes technologies that will enable network operators to deliver Enhanced-TV services to both set-top boxes currently on the market and new, advanced set-top boxes expected to be rolled out later this year. Industry support for the Microsoft TV Platform continues to grow. More than 100 companies, including content developers, tools vendors, ISVs, IHVs, systems integrators and OEMs, are now engaged in various stages of creating solutions based on the Microsoft TV Platform.
“We are thrilled not only to offer an expanded product line, but also to see an ever-increasing level of industry support for the Microsoft TV Platform,”
said Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Consumer Group at Microsoft.
“With the addition of the two newest members of the Microsoft TV Platform family, network operators now have the widest range of options to suit their strategic needs for deployment, enabling them to offer compelling new Enhanced-TV services to their customers.”
The Microsoft TV Platform family offering has been expanded to include more innovative and scalable client and server solutions for the television industry. These components offer cable operators and hardware manufacturers the flexibility to build interactive television solutions that will best meet the needs of their customers. The platform supports a broad menu of new TV applications and services, including multiplayer gaming, interactive content, shopping, e-mail, chat, pay-per-view, video on demand, personalized advertising and Internet access.
The Microsoft TV Platform product family now consists of four software solutions for both current- and next-generation set-top boxes and integrated-TV devices.
Microsoft TV Advanced is designed to deliver a complete broadband experience to consumers and is for use in advanced digital and analog TV devices. The software adapts and extends the Microsoft Windows® CE operating system to advanced television products and supports a host of innovative features, including an integrated intelligent browser environment for television, graphics and streaming audio and video services, communications and home networking services, conditional access, an advanced electronic programming guide (EPG), built-in applications such as Personal TV and multiplayer gaming, and a complete set of developer interfaces for a wide variety of third-party applications and services. Microsoft TV Advanced is a global solution and designed to support worldwide standards and a customizable user interface layer that lets network operators define their vision for the consumer’s enhanced-TV experience. It is also available on any transport. More than 14 million units have been committed for deployment by leading digital cable network operators focused on showcasing the future of enhanced TV on their networks.
Microsoft TV Basic Digital client software, powered by NDS technology, is designed to bring a breadth of enhanced-TV services to the current generation of set-top boxes based on digital cable, satellite, digital terrestrial and MMDS networks. Based on open DVB and Internet standards, Microsoft TV Basic Digital integrates the leading NDS VideoGuard conditional access product, which provides a clear evolutional path for network operators that want to expand their support for basic video-centric services to encompass more enhanced-TV services. With this product, viewers can supplement existing pay-per-view, premium digital channels and interactive program guide options with new services such as e-mail, special information channels, e-commerce and interactive-TV programming and advertising. The product has been adapted to many international languages and environments and is available for deployment today. The underlying software has already been deployed in 1.5 million digital receivers in Europe, South America and Asia.
Microsoft TV Server is designed to be the foundation of a network operator’s enhanced-TV services, managing the set-top boxes and the services on the network. Building from the advanced capabilities of the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server operating system and the Microsoft SQL Server TM database product, Microsoft TV Server provides network operators with the complete range of software components they need to build, deliver and manage large-scale, commercial-grade enhanced-TV and TV-commerce services. The Microsoft TV Server is also designed for easy integration with existing network operator infrastructures and services, such as billing, provisioning, customer service, system monitoring, network management and video on demand. Additional features include several prebuilt applications customized to support specialized television brand, service and user-interface requirements. Simplified deployment and administration make it easy for network operators to deploy Microsoft TV Server. Microsoft has shipped the Technical Trial Release of TV Server 1.0 to key network operators systems integrators and software developers to prepare for deployment upon commercial availability later this year.
Microsoft TV Access Channel Server software offers cable operators a flexible and cost-effective solution for delivering interactive content and services to the current generation of digital set-top boxes. By enabling the use of current-generation set-top boxes, network operators can preserve current investments in digital cable without sacrificing performance, functionality or potential revenue opportunities. Based on Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Server technology, this solution enables enhanced-TV applications such as a browser, browser-based services and Windows-based applications, including games and edutainment titles, by running the applications for multiple users on a server. Capitalizing on innovative, patented technology developed at Peach Networks Ltd., Microsoft TV Access Channel Server enables service providers to
application sessions over MPEG2 video to digital cable set-top boxes.
Support for Microsoft TV Platform Family Grows
Microsoft continues to focus on building strong relationships with members of the television industry to accelerate the worldwide deployment and adoption of enhanced-TV services. Also announced today at Cable 2000, Microsoft now offers a breadth of resources to help content producers and developers, independent software vendors, systems integrators, hardware manufacturers, television production tools vendors and other solution providers maximize on the opportunities offered by the growth of enhanced television. These programs are designed to provide early access to the Microsoft TV Platform family of products, technical training and support, and other opportunities to present products or services to potential customers. More than 125companies are now active participants in the Microsoft TV Partner Programs.
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