Microsoft Announces Availability of UltimateTV Service

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Microsoft UltimateTV service, the first and only service that integrates DIRECTV programming, digital video recording, live TV controls, interactive television and Internet access in one package. UltimateTV is the only service that utilizes two tuners, enabling viewers to watch two live shows simultaneously, watch one live show while recording another, or even record two live shows that are on at the same time.

For $9.95 a month, consumers can find and record up to 35 hours of digital programming. They also will receive live TV controls that give them the ability to pause live TV and interact with television shows, and they will enjoy three hours of Internet access. For an additional $5 a month, customers can use their own compatible Internet service provider, such as the MSN network, for unlimited Internet access. DIRECTV programming, which features more than 225 channels, is sold separately; pricing varies by package.

“UltimateTV offers consumers a whole new way to experience television,” said Bruce Leak, president of Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc. “Now you can live your life and still enjoy great TV, pick the best time to watch your favorite shows, pause live TV to answer the phone, and send an e-mail message with a picture of your kids to your in-laws during a commercial.”

The new DIRECTV receivers with UltimateTV service manufactured by THOMSON multimedia and Sony Corporation of America integrate four separate products into one economical and easy-to-use box. THOMSON began manufacturing the RCA receivers (DWD-490RE) in December, which are scheduled to be available at retail in February.

“One of the great things about UltimateTV is that it just gets better over time,” said Rob Schoeben, senior director, UltimateTV Planning. “We’re already working on future enhancements such as the ability to support a high-speed Internet connection like DSL. We’ll make this and other service enhancements available through simple software upgrades delivered via satellite in the coming months.”

Features of the UltimateTV service

UltimateTV is the culmination of five years of developing and delivering enhanced TV services and is the first consumer service launched in the United States that is powered by the Microsoft TV platform. Features include the following:

Live TV Controls

  • Pause live television

  • Enjoy an instant replay with one touch of the remote

  • Skip ahead, or watch in slow motion or even frame by frame

  • Rewind and fast-forward at multiple speeds, up to 300 times the original speed

Digital Video Recording

  • Record with one touch

  • Record up to 35 hours of satellite programming in full digital quality

  • Watch one live show while recording another

  • Record two live shows at the same time

  • Watch two live shows at the same time

  • Search for favorite programs or listings up to 14 days in advance

Internet and Interactive TV

  • Surf the Internet while watching television with WebPIP™

  • Send and receive e-mail messages using pictures and audio clips

  • Participate in a chat

  • Play along with game shows

  • Participate in a poll

  • Check sports stats

  • Respond to an advertisement

  • Choose from more than 750 hours of interactive programming each week

More information is available at

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 Internet service, the WebTV Plus interactive 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 “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.

Microsoft, UltimateTV, MSN, WebPIP and WebTV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

DIRECTV Inc. and DIRECTV are trademarks of DIRECTV Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp.

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. If you are interested in viewing additional information on the UltimateTV service from Microsoft, please visit the UltimateTV Web page at .

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