Microsoft Showcases Increased Support for Interactive Television At Developer Conferences

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 18, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. has unveiled increased support for interactive television (iTV) developers to make it easier to build content, applications and services for the Microsoft® TV platform. A new version of Microsoft TV Advanced client software, new developer tools and enhancements to the Microsoft TV Developer Program were featured at recent events in Europe and the United States, demonstrating Microsoft’s commitment to the iTV developer community.

The Microsoft TV Developer Conferences in Amsterdam, Netherlands (Nov. 8-9), and Silicon Valley, Calif. (Dec. 6-7), provided an overview of Microsoft TV strategy and business opportunities for iTV, an introduction to Microsoft .NET in the television environment, and training from Microsoft and other iTV developers. During the events, approximately 150 developers learned how Microsoft and its partners can help them take advantage of the revenue-generating opportunities available to them as iTV gains momentum.

“Microsoft TV Developer Conferences help build relationships between Microsoft and its developer program participants, facilitate networking between members, and create opportunities for members to present their products in business or technical sessions,”
said Paul Mitchell, senior director of content, standards and tools for the Microsoft TV Group.
“At the same time, we get to hear how we can better help developers build successful content, applications and services for iTV.”

“The Microsoft TV Developer Conference was a great help in focusing our iTV strategy using the Microsoft platform, and led to some news ideas that are going to be more useful for our business,”
said David Wilkins, chief executive officer of VertigoXMedia, a leading provider of content automation solutions and high-end graphic designs services for live broadcast television, the Web, interactive television and wireless devices.
“The Microsoft TV Developer Program and this event do a lot to solidify where Microsoft is headed, and that helps developers see a definite road map to track their future progress for content and services for iTV.”

Benefits of the New Microsoft TV Advanced 1.5

At the conferences, developers learned how Microsoft TV Advanced 1.5 can help them quickly and easily develop for iTV. Microsoft TV Advanced 1.5 is built on the Windows® CE 3.0 operating system and supports HTML 4.0, Windows Media™
7 and Macromedia Flash 4.0. It enables developers to build flexible and reliable designs with familiar, integrated development and testing tools, including those for Macromedia Flash and other third-party Web authoring tools. Microsoft TV Advanced version 1.5 also includes a new customizable Reference UI and improved internationalization support for Western European languages for streamlined localization. Sample code and enhanced documentation increase developer productivity.

New Tools for Developers

Microsoft also unveiled new tools designed specifically for iTV development:

  • Microsoft TV Advanced 1.5 Simulator. By using the PC to create new iTV applications, the simulator recreates the set-top box environment, showing developers what their content will look like when deployed on a real set-top box and simulating the interaction of a remote control with the set-top box. The new simulator is available to members of the Microsoft TV Developer Program.

  • Microsoft TV Applications JumpStart Kit. Developers can rapidly obtain knowledge on how to develop applications for the Microsoft TV Platform. The kit includes documentation, sample code and a step-by-step example of building a client/server shopping application. The Microsoft TV Applications JumpStart Kit will be available to Microsoft TV Developer Program members beginning in January.

  • Visual Studio
    .NET Add-Ins for TV. The world’s most popular PC development tools have now been extended to TV content authoring. Features include report generator and color-coded syntax checking for SMPTE DDE-1 or SMPTE DDE-1 Plus extensions, autocomplete coding, and drag and drop for near-WYSIWYG (
    “what you see is what you get”
    ) layout. The add-ins will be available to Microsoft TV Developer Program members beginning in January.

Improved Microsoft TV Developer Program

Developers also received additional information about the recently announced enhancements to the Microsoft TV Developer Program, which is being extended to meet the evolving needs of iTV developers, including the addition of a new, no-fee
“basic” membership tier. The Developer Program enhancements will launch in January, and premium levels will now feature new tools including the JumpStart Kit and Microsoft TV Add-Ins for Visual Studio .NET, and will include MSDN® membership. Premium members will also have access to Microsoft TV-powered set-top boxes, technical training and support, and more. More information can be found on the Web at .

“The Microsoft TV Developer Conference has helped broaden our scope tremendously,”
said Damon Torres, chief executive officer of Robocast Inc., a pioneering Web company offering viewing automation tools for a variety of display devices.
“Robocast has already developed automated browsing applications for wireless and desktop PC environments, and the set-top box is our next big frontier. In just three months, we’ve been able to get our product deployed thanks in large part to the Microsoft TV Developer Program. They even connected us with as a partner for our project. Now we can deliver our product through nearly every form of new media.”

About the Microsoft TV Developer Program

With active members in 22 countries, the Microsoft TV Developer Program brings together companies across the television and technology industries to create iTV programming, services and applications that run on the Microsoft TV platform; the program also embraces hardware vendors, systems integrators and more. The Developer Program also includes member companies that develop tools for iTV content creation and delivery, and companies that develop Windows operating system-based games and
software that can be adapted for television using Microsoft TV Server products. Microsoft TV is working with companies across the entire spectrum of television and related technologies to help make interactive television a reality.

About the Microsoft TV Platform

The Microsoft TV platform is a standards-based, client and server software family that enables network operators and their partners to deliver the most compelling interactive TV services to consumers. The platform supports a range of TV devices — from current and next-generation set-top boxes and digital video recorders to integrated television sets, entertainment appliances and other computing devices. Through the platform, network operators and hardware providers can team up to offer consumers an unparalleled range of services, from e-mail and Internet on television to interactive programming, electronic program guides and digital video recording.

Microsoft TV also creates significant new economic opportunities for network operators and industry leaders worldwide who have chosen to work with the platform to deliver or supply

the services, programming, hardware and software for interactive television. Microsoft TV supports open standards and is backed by the technical expertise, support and broad third-party developer community for which Microsoft is known. It is an integral part of the Microsoft .NET vision of empowering people through great software — any time, any place and on any device. More information about the Microsoft TV platform can be found 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.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows Media, Visual Studio and MSDN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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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