Microsoft Previews UltimateTV Service Enhancements At Consumer Electronics Show

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. is showcasing trial versions of service enhancements for its UltimateTV® service in its booth (No. 1041) at the 2002 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Enhancements being previewed include satellite Remote Record, which allows UltimateTV subscribers to set their DIRECTV®
Receiver with UltimateTV service to record even when they are away from home; UltimateTV Movies, which simplifies the process of finding and recording favorite movies on the DIRECTV service; and Auto Record, which enables UltimateTV to automatically record programs that match subscriber preferences. In addition to these new capabilities, subscribers will enjoy improvements to My Shows that make it easier to manage their library of recorded shows and keep track of upcoming recordings.

Launched in March 2001, the DIRECTV Receiver with UltimateTV service is the only product that offers DIRECTV programming, one-touch digital video recording (DVR), live TV controls, dual satellite tuners that let subscribers watch or record two live shows at once, and MSN®
TV service in one integrated package. In September 2001, Microsoft delivered via satellite several features subscribers had requested, including Keep Until, which enables subscribers to keep any recorded television program until they choose to delete it, and Custom Recordings, which allows subscribers to manually record from a specific starting time to a specific ending time on a specified channel.

“The new UltimateTV features we’re showing here at CES reinforce Microsoft’s commitment to improving the television-viewing experience,” said Bruce Leak, president of the UltimateTV Group at Microsoft. “These service advancements support our mission of creating the most advanced television technology that offers viewers exciting new ways to experience television.”

Following is a detailed look at the feature enhancements being previewed at CES.

Remote Record

The DIRECTV Receiver with UltimateTV service is the first to introduce satellite Remote Record functionality. With Remote Record, subscribers can set up a recording session on their receiver even when they are away from home. Whether at work or on the road, subscribers can access the UltimateTV Web site, log on using their Microsoft®
.NET Passport, make their recording selection from the interactive programming guide, and send the request directly to their DIRECTV Receiver with UltimateTV service via satellite. It’s nearly instantaneous. Now subscribers have the freedom to record a show they just found out about (or just remembered) even when they are stuck at the office working late or when a change in plans means they won’t be home in time. Remote Record adds new meaning to the phrase “don’t miss a thing.”

UltimateTV Movies

Since watching movies is all about finding the ones that are just right, UltimateTV Movies is the perfect helper to match the movie to the mood. It’s like having a personal film critic in one’s home. And the best part is that once users find a great movie, they can record it with a click of a button and watch it whenever they want. Movie recommendations, reviews of new releases available on premium movie channels and Blockbuster Ticket only on DIRECTV, and specialized Movie Search will help movie lovers quickly find old favorites and discover new ones.

The new movie recommendations will point subscribers to movies that are airing in a variety of categories, including romance, drama and thrillers. Recommendations are updated regularly, ensuring that the latest information about upcoming shows is always available. Movie reviews will give subscribers to UltimateTV the scoop from trusted reviewers about current movie offerings. This way they can choose the movies they love and avoid the ones that aren’t right for them. The Search Movies function will help viewers individualize their choices. Searching by an actor or genre will be as easy as clicking a button, pulling up the category and browsing through listings of those movies showing on the DIRECTV service.

Auto Record

Auto Record will continually seek out and automatically record shows that match subscribers’ stated preferences, whether they’re scheduled to air next week, next month or next year. Subscribers can specify general areas of interest such as “cooking” or “tennis,” or get as specific as “action-adventure movies from the ’80s in Dolby Digital®
, letterbox format.” Once the criteria are set, UltimateTV will repeatedly seek out and record exactly what the subscriber wants, whenever it comes on. Auto Record is great for sports fans looking to capture games from their favorite football, baseball or hockey teams year-round.

“We are developing new ways to help people easily find and record the shows they like,” said Rob Schoeben, executive director of product management in the UltimateTV Group at Microsoft. “With enhancements such as Remote Record, UltimateTV Movies and Auto Record, UltimateTV will become an even more indispensable service that ensures subscribers’ favorite shows are always on.”

New UltimateTV Receiver

Microsoft UltimateTV is working with Thomson multimedia Inc. on the new DWD495RG RCA®
-DIRECTV set-top receiver with a recording capacity of up to 35 hours and up to 70 hours with RCA’s new receiver. (Actual recording capacity depends on type of programming being recorded.) This allows people to record up to twice as many programs as they could with previous models.

The UltimateTV Service From Microsoft

The UltimateTV service from Microsoft offers DIRECTV programming, one-touch DVR, live TV controls, dual satellite tuners that let subscribers watch or record two live shows at once, and MSN TV service in one integrated package. With live TV controls, viewers are able to easily pause, create their own instant replays, skip ahead, fast-forward and rewind. With a touch of a button, subscribers can record a show from the Advanced Program Guide (TM) on the DIRECTV service and even create their own personal library in My Shows.

The DIRECTV Receiver with UltimateTV service was the first direct broadcast satellite television receiver with two working tuners. UltimateTV allows viewers to watch two live shows on the DIRECTV service at the same time (via picture-in-picture functionality), watch one live show while recording another, and record up to 35 hours and up to 70 hours with RCA’s new receiver of digital-quality programming for later viewing on their own personal lineup. (Actual recording capacity depends on type of programming being recorded.)

The DIRECTV Receiver with UltimateTV service is manufactured and distributed by RCA Electronics and Sony Electronics Inc., and is available wherever DIRECTV satellite receivers are sold.

About the UltimateTV Group at Microsoft

The UltimateTV group at Microsoft is a leading provider of advanced interactive television services to consumers. The group licenses enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers for integrated satellite receivers that provide digital video recording, live TV controls and MSN TV service in one complete package. The UltimateTV group is based at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, Calif. The UltimateTV service is powered by the Microsoft TV software platform, which is licensed to television network operators worldwide. Additional information about the UltimateTV service is available at

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.

For full functionality, this receiver requires connection of two satellite inputs from a dual LNB DIRECTV System dish antenna. Subscription to DIRECTV programming and UltimateTV service are required. 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. Long-distance charges may apply in some areas. To check local access, call (877) ULTIMATE (858-4628).

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

DIRECTV Inc., DIRECTV, Advanced Program Guide and the Cyclone Design logo are trademarks of DIRECTV Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp., and are used with permission.

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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