Microsoft UltimateTV Powers NASCAR Drivers

FONTANA, Calif., April 28, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that five prominent NASCAR drivers and their crews will utilize the Microsoft® UltimateTV® service in their pit areas during the 2001 NASCAR season. In a press conference at California Speedway this morning, defending Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, NASCAR veteran Kenny Wallace and future NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson, Hank Parker Jr. and Shawna Robinson were introduced as the UltimateTV team of drivers. These drivers will be looking for UltimateTV to provide a competitive edge at the racetrack and to serve as the ideal entertainment product for their homes. UltimateTV is the first and only service that integrates DIRECTV® programming with digital video recording, live TV controls, Internet access and enhanced television programming in one complete package.

The Microsoft UltimateTV team of drivers (from left: Michael Waltrip, Jimmie Johnson, Shawna Robinson, Kenny Wallace and Hank Parker, Jr.), serve as spokespersons and will use UltimateTV in their pits on raceday to help gain a competitive edge.

In motorsports, every one-hundredth of a second is critical, and every bit of insight and timely information has the potential to provide a competitive edge. By using UltimateTV in pre-race preparation and post-race evaluation, and as a real-time, in-race tool, Waltrip, Wallace, Johnson, Robinson and Parker hope to capitalize on the immediacy of information to evaluate race situations, make competitive decisions and execute on-track strategy more quickly than their opponents.

“Our crew chief has the ability to easily replay the line that his driver is running on the track in slow motion and determine if the driver needs to change the line or if they need to be given other valuable information,”
Waltrip said.
“We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our team’s applications of UltimateTV.”

“UltimateTV certainly enhances the fans’ view of the race, but our team uses it as a tool of the trade to study other cars in slow motion during qualifying and practice to see if we can improve our performance,”
said Wallace.
“When I come home from the race on Sunday, I can review our performance that day and make notes for our team meeting on Monday morning. In the heat of the race you might miss something important. Now I can move through the recorded action digitally and watch the segments that are important to me, the way I want to watch them.”

While developing the overall marketing program for the new UltimateTV service, Microsoft realized that most consumers don’t understand what a digital video recorder (DVR) is or the benefits it can provide. With this in mind, Microsoft created an experiential program designed to educate consumers about the DVR category while showcasing the unique benefits of UltimateTV. The five-driver team will educate race fans and lead by example with its use of the UltimateTV service in competitive situations during the racing season.

“Our presence at the NASCAR tracks and the relationships with these drivers offer a tremendous opportunity to educate millions of avid race fans about UltimateTV,”
said Bill Morgan, chief marketing officer for UltimateTV at Microsoft.
“NASCAR is a sport based on technology. We believe UltimateTV can arm these drivers with more ammunition for success. In return, we are looking for the drivers, as the real motorsports experts, to push the envelope and tell us how they can use UltimateTV to enhance their performance, so we can translate that into the consumer experience.”

UltimateTV will have a presence at 29 of this season’s NASCAR races and will have significant media exposure at the races via a variety of signage and branding, including the trackside StadiaNet video infield big screens, where UltimateTV will bring race fans instant replays.

UltimateTV has also introduced a racing-themed product demonstration area featuring two nine-passenger stock car simulators that provide race fans with a full-scale, interactive demonstration of the UltimateTV technology. The 3,500-square-foot display will travel to select NASCAR events, giving race fans the chance to test drive the cutting-edge technology and talk racing and television with the UltimateTV team of drivers during fan autograph and question-and-answer sessions at each venue.

The DIRECTV satellite receiver with UltimateTV service is the first and only direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television receiver with two working tuners. UltimateTV is the only product that allows viewers to watch two shows on DIRECTV at the same time (picture-in-picture), watch one live show while recording another, and record up to 35 hours* of digital-quality programming for later viewing on their own
“personal lineup.”
The UltimateTV receiver can even record two different live programs that are on at the same time. Viewers can choose from more than 750 hours per week of enhanced television, respond to promotions with the click of a button, and stay in touch with family and friends via e-mail. The DIRECTV satellite receiver with UltimateTV service is manufactured and distributed by RCA and Sony and is available wherever DIRECTV satellite receivers are sold.

About Microsoft WebTV Networks

Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc., is a leading provider of interactive TV services using Internet and digital technologies. The company offers a range of services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other television-related devices, and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers.

The newest service is UltimateTV, the only television service that combines digital video recording, live TV controls, Internet access and enhanced television programming in one complete package. The company has operated the WebTV® Classic Internet service and WebTV Plus interactive service since 1996 and 1997 respectively.

Microsoft WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates UltimateTV and WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to television network operators worldwide. Additional information about the UltimateTV service is available at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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.

* Actual recording capacity depends on type of programming being recorded.

A subscription to DIRECTV programming and UltimateTV service is required for full functionality of the DIRECTV receiver. Equipment and DIRECTV programming are sold separately. Requires a monthly subscription to the UltimateTV service and is subject to acceptance of the terms of service upon registration. UltimateTV services are available as a local call in most areas. In some areas, long-distance charges may apply. To check local access, call 1-877-ULTIMATE (1-877-858-4628).

Microsoft, UltimateTV 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.

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