AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 8, 2000 — Microsoft today announced at International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) 2000 that it plans to make available a set of software components that enable any PC-type device to deliver Enhanced TV. The software, Microsoft® TV Technologies, is scheduled to be available in select future versions of the Windows® operating system and will enable users to enjoy the functionality of Microsoft TV from their PC.
Today’s announcement does not take away from Microsoft’s commitment to deliver Enhanced TV through the set-top box, the vehicle through which the company believes most consumers will access Enhanced TV services.
Microsoft TV Technologies is being demonstrated at the Microsoft booth at IBC2000 (Booth 321) and, like the Microsoft TV platform, it is based on open standards enabling all the features of Enhanced TV, including personalization, PVR support, electronic programming guide and interactive programming, to be delivered via devices using the PC architecture.
Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the TV Division at Microsoft, explained the vision:
A new breed of PC appliances is emerging aimed at home entertainment rather than workplace productivity. With extra multimedia functionality such as DVD players and digital media jukeboxes, these new appliances are far more likely to be found in the living room than the office. Microsoft TV Technologies will enable consumers to take advantage of Enhanced TV on these types of devices in addition to set-top boxes and TV sets.
“We have received wide industry support for Microsoft TV Technologies — with most companies that provide TV functionality on the PC working on implementations of this new software, leading to a great deal of innovative TV functionality on the PC platform. This is a key part of our vision of enabling computing any time, any place and on any device.”
The Microsoft TV Technologies new broadcast driver architecture will greatly simplify the implementation of broadcast solutions on the Windows platform and will provide a standard for easy integration between television and DVD applications and the underlying transport. With digital television now being transmitted over multiple network types, including satellite, cable and terrestrial, by a variety of providers and in formats defined by multiple standards, including ATSC, DVB-S, DVB-C and DVB-T, Microsoft TV Technologies will shield developers from the complexities inherent in supporting all these network types and broadcast standards. The technology also will provide extensive support for interactive TV programming standards, allowing content to be integrated into applications easily.
Hardware devices are currently being developed that will enable PCs to receive all these network types, and Microsoft TV Technologies will provide the building blocks necessary for TV reception in the form of software components. This means that less hardware will be needed in the TV receiver modules, reducing their cost for consumers.
Microsoft TV Technologies is based on the DirectShow® and Kernel Streaming architectures for streaming multimedia content. A primary feature of the technologies is that they provide for modularized receiver component development, meaning that components can be developed and maintained independently, separating the complexities of a particular network implementation from the device drivers. Microsoft TV Technologies will make it significantly easier for developers to write drivers for TV hardware such as receiver modules. Various Class-Drivers and Mini-Drivers also will be provided, including drivers for Tuners and Conditional Access modules, allowing premium content to be received and protected in a PC environment.
Microsoft TV Technologies are part of the Microsoft TV family of software and, together with Windows Media™
technologies, will enable the delivery of Enhanced TV to multiple devices, ranging from current-generation and advanced set-top boxes to Enhanced TV sets and entertainment PCs. The expanded Microsoft TV family now includes the following:
Microsoft TV platform (servers are Microsoft TV Server and Microsoft TV Access Channel Server; clients are Microsoft TV Advanced and Microsoft TV Basic Digital)
Microsoft TV Technologies (for both embedded and desktop Windows)
Windows Media Technologies (for both set-top boxes and PCs)
About the 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 Basic Digital for current-generation set-top boxes and Microsoft TV Advanced for advanced set-top boxes, operates a range of TV-centric appliances from set-top boxes to integrated televisions. Microsoft TV Access Channel Server is a head-end-based solution that delivers Internet services and Windows-based multimedia content to these appliances. Microsoft TV Server is a software product that offers network operators the tools to provision, manage and operate a large-scale, commercial-grade Enhanced TV service. Microsoft TV Technologies extends TV functionality to the PC and introduces a new broadcast driver architecture that greatly simplifies the implementation of broadcast solutions on the Windows PC platform. Windows Media technologies is an integral component of Microsoft TV Advanced.
Dynamic HTML, as well as all interactive content authored according to the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification.
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