Microsoft and Octal Introduce New Development Kit For Faster Deployment of Advanced iTV Services

CANNES, France, Feb. 4, 2002 — Today at Milia, Microsoft Corp. and Novabase SA of Portugal announced availability of the Sagreskit, a new development kit that will make it faster and easier to build iTV services for the Microsoft® TV platform running on OctalTV set-top boxes. The Sagreskit provides developers with a wide range of tools and resources to help bring iTV services to market faster.

The first version of the Sagreskit is available now in English and enables the following:

  • Personal video recorder management. The development kit includes video file handling and allows the creation of video-based applications, such as video on demand and interactive video demonstrations. It also includes tools that enable file conversion from and to MPEG 2.

  • Smart Card handling. Payment or loyalty program applications can be created using the Smart Card feature of the OctalTV set-top box.

  • Digital video dynamic tuning. Multicamera, multiaudio applications can be created to enable multiangle views for sports events or multirole shows.

  • SMPTE 363 simulation. This simulator helps synchronize content with video broadcasts by allowing developers to send Society for Motion Picture and TV Engineers (SMPTE) 363 (formerly known as ATVEF transport A) triggers.

  • Multiplayer gaming. Developers can create multiplayer games using a set of client and server objects; games can be run between two or more set-top boxes using a broadband connection.

The Sagreskit also includes a completely customizable graphical user interface (GUI) that can be used for fast deployment of localized TV portals; a Trivial file transfer protocol (FTP) client and a server component that allows for a smooth transfer of files in and out of the set-top box; and a manual containing detailed how-to sections on building content, such as live-broadcast simulations using recorded video and ActiveX® Controls.

“We have been working on the Sagreskit with Microsoft to make it easier for developers to take advantage of the broad iTV technologies,”
said Pedro Rodrigues, senior project manager at Novabase.
“The feedback from developers so far has been extremely positive. Developers with both Octal and third parties have seen improved productivity by using the Sagreskit, enabling them to utilize the full potential of iTV.”

“The Sagreskit is a big step forward for developers who want to create advanced iTV services easily and get their products to market faster,”
said Paul Mitchell, senior director of content and standards for the Microsoft TV Group.
“The Sagreskit will help companies fully realize the promise of iTV by providing an easy-to-use, flexible set of tools to deploy content and services on the Microsoft TV platform.”

The initial version of the Sagreskit supports Microsoft TV Advanced version 1.5 running on the OctalTV STB5005 and OctalTV STB6005 set-top boxes. It is available to fee-based members of the Microsoft TV Developer Program. More information on the program can be found at .

The OctalTV STB6005 includes the following features:

  • Digital video recording (DVR) Support

  • Windows Media™
    -based streaming of MPEG 2 and MPEG 4

  • Built-in cable modem and xDSL

  • Embedded conditional access system from Nagravision and support for DVB-CI by PCMCIA conditional access module

  • Smart Card reader for European, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) credit cards or Loyalty Program chip cards

  • Two USB ports to connect a variety of devices, such as a wireless gateway, webcam or printer

  • DVD drive

Microsoft and Octal have already teamed up to support the TV Digital Interactiva service launched by TV Cabo in Portugal in June 2000. TV Cabo is the world’s first network operator to offer an integrated advanced interactive cable TV and digital video recorder service. TV Cabo Interactiva service features 40 interactive digital channels with more than 50 companies developing content and services for TV Cabo. In addition to DVR, the service includes Internet access, e-mail, news, games, shopping and home banking.

About Novabase iDTV

Novabase iDTV is an umbrella company that manages all Novabase operations related to video and broadband businesses, currently comprising three specialized companies. OctalTV is an engineering company that designs and controls the manufacturing of embedded broadband devices. It has been providing set-top boxes for commercial and trial initiatives on Microsoft TV Advanced. OnTV is a systems integrator company, specializing in broadband systems such as billing, mediation, provisioning systems and their connection to Microsoft TV Server. OnTV also develops low-level applications and components for the OctalTV set-top boxes. TVLab is a content development company that creates sophisticated interactive video applications. More information can be found on the Web at .

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 that have chosen to work with the platform to deliver or supply the services, programming, hardware and software for interactive TV. 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, ActiveX and Windows Media 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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