Microsoft Releases UltimateTV Service Upgrade

REDMOND, Wash., April 4, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the delivery to consumers of a software upgrade for its UltimateTV® service. The upgrade significantly enhances system performance, improves overall ease of use, and introduces several new features and enhancements that give users more control when recording and playing back television programs. Microsoft delivered the upgrade to subscribers via the DIRECTV®
digital satellite service today at no additional charge.

“We are particularly excited about delivering this service upgrade to our subscribers because many of the enhancements were developed to directly respond to their suggestions and requests,” said Rob Schoeben, general manager of TV Services at Microsoft. “Our subscribers told us they wanted a faster service and more control over how they manage their personal programming lineup. With this latest upgrade, that’s exactly what they have.”

The UltimateTV upgrade provides the following service enhancements:

  • Better performance. The overall responsiveness of the DIRECTV Receiver with UltimateTV service is significantly improved. With this latest upgrade, subscribers can navigate more quickly between TV Home, My Shows and the electronic programming guide.

  • Automatic recording of programs that match subscribers’ interests. Now UltimateTV can be set to continuously search for and record programs that match subscribers’ interests, whether the programs are scheduled to air next week, next month or next year. Subscribers can set their UltimateTV service to search for programs covering general areas of interest, such as “cooking” or “tennis”; types of programs such as “James Bond movies from the ’80s”; or even specific programs that air infrequently, such as “The Wizard of Oz.” The Auto-Record function will continually check for program matches as the program guide is updated, so subscribers never miss a desired program, regardless of when it is broadcast.

  • More control over recorded programs. Now multiple shows of the same title are grouped together in My Shows, making it easier to view and manage recorded programs. For example, My Shows groups all “Friends” episodes together, noting how many episodes a subscriber has recorded. Each episode is called out by name and date-recorded for easy sorting. The user can also specify how many episodes to save of each show. This makes it easy for subscribers to always have just the most recent nightly news broadcast or exactly three episodes of their child’s favorite purple dinosaur at all times.

  • Easy management of upcoming recordings. The enhanced UltimateTV service gives subscribers several new ways to keep an eye on their upcoming recordings. They can now easily view a list of upcoming recordings in the order in which they will be recorded. Subscribers also can review and update their recording preferences, whether they are part of a recurring series or an Auto-Record selection, to see how much recording space has been used.

  • Ability for users to find exactly what they’re looking for. In addition to searching for television programs by title or type, subscribers can now use more than 30 new options to refine their search to get a more accurate match for the show they want to watch. For example, subscribers can set their UltimateTV service to search for “Cher” and “movies,” and to search by specific audio/video formats (e.g., Dolby, black and white, or letterbox), time of day (e.g., morning or afternoon), date, ratings (MPAA and TV ratings) and channels.

The UltimateTV Service From Microsoft

The DIRECTV Receiver with UltimateTV service is the only product that offers subscribers access to DIRECTV programming, digital video recording (DVR), live TV controls, dual satellite tuners that enable them to watch or record two live shows at once, Internet access and enhanced programming in one integrated package.

The UltimateTV service allows viewers to record up to 70 hours of digital-quality programming so they can watch their favorite TV programs on their own schedule, and skip over the boring parts of any broadcast. (Actual recording capacity varies by model purchased — up-to-35-hour and up-to-70-hour models are available — and depends on type of programming being recorded.) UltimateTV also allows viewers to pause and rewind live television, fast-forward and skip ahead through previously recorded programming, watch two live shows at the same time (via picture-in-picture functionality), or watch one live show while recording another. The UltimateTV service is powered by the Microsoft®
TV software platform, which is licensed to television network operators worldwide.

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. Additional information about the UltimateTV service is available at .


DIRECTV is the nation’s leading digital satellite television service provider with more than 10.7 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp. HUGHES is the world’s leading provider of digital television entertainment, broadband services, satellite-based private business networks, and global video and data broadcasting. The earnings of HUGHES, a unit of General Motors Corp., are used to calculate the earnings attributable to the General Motors Class H common stock (NYSE: “GMH”). More information is available on the World Wide Web 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, the UltimateTV/DIRECTV 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 and UltimateTV 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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team for additional assistance.

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