Microsoft Extends TV Content Developers Program to Bring Games, Edutainment, Other Programs to TV Viewers

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30, 2000 — To encourage development of new forms of high-end interactive content, Microsoft Corp. today announced an extension to its Microsoft® TV Content Developers Program that will assist PC content developers who are interested in extending their titles for enhanced TV. The extension, which was announced at the 2000 Western Cable Show, adds resources for PC content developers who want to deliver their gaming, educational, edutainment and other titles to TV viewers via the Microsoft TV Access Channel Server software solution.

It also was announced today that The Learning Company, a leading software provider, will adapt its popular
“Reader Rabbit”
educational CD-ROM series for interactive TV using Microsoft TV Access Channel Server. Award-winning titles under the
“Reader Rabbit”
brand are among the most successful and acclaimed software programs for young children, valued by parents and teachers alike.

“We feel PC content developers really can benefit from this increased focus. Obviously, there is a wealth of PC-based games, education and entertainment offerings that would make for great interactive TV content,”
said Alan Yates, vice president of sales and marketing at Microsoft TV.
“In addition to TV content developers, we’re also giving PC developers an opportunity to tailor offerings to the interactive TV environment using a Windows-based platform and tools.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us at The Learning Company to combine our strengths in creating interactive educational software with Microsoft’s technical expertise in launching innovative platforms for software delivery,”
said Mark Hittie, vice president of marketing for The Learning Company’s Education Division.
“The ‘Reader Rabbit’ programs offered to consumers through their television sets will be easy-to-use and fun-to-play, like their CD-ROM counterparts.”

Microsoft TV Access Channel Server is a server-based application for delivering interactive services and diverse Windows® -based content to current-generation and advanced digital cable set-top boxes. It extends the useful life of digital cable set-top boxes by delivering compelling new services and content, such as Windows-based applications, Internet surfing and e-mail functionality, and multimedia programs using a software solution that runs on a network operator’s head end. Because the solution is server-based, it also allows for easy and centralized maintenance and upgrading of all content and plug-ins.

The Content Developers Program benefits both cable operators and content providers by helping them create and deliver powerful interactive material beyond the scope of current-generation set-top boxes. The program encourages the development of content using off-the-shelf Windows NT® and Windows 2000 operating system-based development tools and provides support to developers. Partners in the program receive online information as well as testing of their content in Microsoft TV labs. The program also offers a Content Developer Kit and technical support throughout their projects.

The Content Developers Program includes three levels of cooperation in creating highly sophisticated content for enhanced TV. Partners are encouraged to participate with Microsoft TV in shows and marketing activities, national and international trials, and new commercial opportunities worldwide.

For content providers producing Windows-based material titles, Microsoft TV Access Channel Server can provide access to large and new markets, simplifies distribution and provides security against CD piracy. It also helps cable operators and content producers tap into additional revenue-generating opportunities. The adaptation or creation of premier learning programs for children — such as the
“Reader Rabbit”
series — for interactive TV is just one example.

Microsoft will hold technical trials and marketing demonstrations for the Microsoft TV Access Channel Server; it is looking to content providers such as The Learning Company to provide content in the trials and for marketing. More information is available from Nittai Hofshi, manager of the Content Developers Program, nittaih@microsoft.com, or Ron Shani, marketing director for Microsoft TV Access Channel Server, ronsh@microsoft.com.

Microsoft TV Content Developers Program

The Microsoft TV Content Developers Program is designed to educate and offer resources to television producers, production companies, Web developers, PC content developers, advertisers, networks, studios and broadcasters that want to make enhanced TV content and applications. The program offers development and content creation tools including a Content Developer Kit, development instructions including online and offline training, and resources and education to create enhanced TV content. More information can be found on the Microsoft TV platform Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/tv/ .

About the Microsoft TV Platform

The Microsoft TV platform is a comprehensive, standards-based, client and server software solution that enables network operators to enhance the TV experience for their viewers and subscribers. The software platform creates significant new economic opportunities for network operators and the suppliers of programming, hardware and software in the TV industry worldwide. Microsoft TV is backed by the technical expertise, support and broad third-party developer community that Microsoft is known for. The platform makes it cost-effective for network operators to deploy new enhanced TV services on first-generation digital set-top boxes as well as the new generation of advanced set-top boxes and entertainment appliances now emerging.

Microsoft TV products include Microsoft TV Basic Digital and Microsoft TV Advanced software for set-top boxes and Microsoft TV Server and Microsoft TV Access Channel Server for providing enhanced TV services through the network operators’ head end. As an extension of the Microsoft TV platform, Microsoft TV Technologies will provide broadcast-rich services and functions within future generations of the Windows operating system, paving the way for enhanced TV services on personal computers and other computing devices.

Microsoft TV supports worldwide digital TV broadcast standards, including Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), Advanced Television Systems Committee (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 Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification. More information about Microsoft TV and Microsoft TV Technologies can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/tv/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) 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.

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The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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