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 http://www.ultimatetv.com/.
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.
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 http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ 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 http://www.ultimatetv.com/ .