Microsoft Introduces New Software Platform to Help Cable Operators Get More Value From Digital TV and On-Demand Services

CHICAGO, June 9, 2003 —
Today at The National Show, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s (NCTA’s) annual convention, Microsoft Corp. unveiled Microsoft®
TV Foundation Edition, a new digital TV software platform designed to help cable operators get more value from on-demand and other digital TV services using the hardware and network infrastructure they have in place today. Microsoft TV Foundation is a complete end-to-end solution that enables network operators to better package and promote services such as video on demand (VOD), while helping viewers more easily find and use the services with an innovative, built-in interactive program guide (IPG). Operators can create On-Demand Storefronts for video, and offer games and information services including news, weather and sports, bringing new benefits to subscribers. The Microsoft TV Foundation platform scales from today’s thin-client set-top boxes to future-generation devices, providing a consistent consumer experience for cable operators to promote services as their digital TV offering evolves. The solution is being demonstrated publicly for the first time at the National Show, in Microsoft Booth 931.

In a separate announcement, Microsoft today announced industry momentum behind the company’s digital TV software. Industry leaders announcing support for Microsoft TV Foundation include Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) Ltd., Concurrent Computer Corp., MetaTV Inc., Motorola, Inc., SeaChange and Two Way TV Ltd.

Microsoft TV Foundation can help operators get more out of digital cable with features that enable the following:

  • A great viewer experience:

    • Improved VOD experience. Microsoft TV IPG with integrated VOD (included with Microsoft TV Foundation) makes it easier than ever for consumers to find on-demand offerings of interest. The easy-to-use Microsoft TV Foundation VOD interface provides quick access to current purchases and subscriptions, and effortless VOD catalog browsing.

    • More flexible VOD. Microsoft TV Foundation enables multiple service operators (MSOs) to deliver a consistent VOD user experience across the subscriber base irrespective of the VOD vendor.

  • Increased usage and greater take-rates for on-demand and premium services:

    • New managed content programs and applications. A new standards-based authoring environment and platform enables cost-effective broadcast (one-way) delivery of graphic-rich services and applications on today’s set-top boxes. These include games and information services such as local weather, sports and news. Operators can deliver applications such as games and tickers built on the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework TV Edition.

    • Greater marketing opportunities. Take-rates for premium services (including VOD, Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), games, pay-per-view, premium channels and more) can be improved through marketing in managed content and virtual channels. New On-Demand Storefronts make it easy for consumers to find and purchase on-demand offerings of interest throughout the day. The Barker Channel feature enables MSOs to play promotional content on a continual basis to advertise on-demand content.

    • Comprehensive advertising support. Microsoft TV Foundation offers innovative advertising choices through guide, managed content, games and other applications. The ad inventory is easy to schedule and administer with a campaign management system that can help generate higher CPMs through targeting based on postal code, IPG regions, time of day, and applications and content type.

    • Business analytics collection and reporting. Cable operators can improve business and marketing analysis by aggregating data from subscriber interactions, including advertising click-throughs, managed content and application usage.

  • Delivery of a consistent subscriber experience from thin-client to more advanced devices:

    • Support for a range of digital set-top boxes. A consistent, yet optimized, experience can be delivered across a range of devices including the Motorola DCT1700, DCT2000, DCT2500, DCT5100 and DCT6000 family of advanced interactive set-top boxes.

    • Customization. Microsoft TV Foundation enables network operators to customize the branding, logos, ad placement, look and feel, and other elements of the user experience to deliver a truly customized experience.

    • Complete tools suite for application development and testing. The Microsoft TV Tools Suite enables third-party developers to easily create rich content and tools for the Microsoft TV platform using open standards such as XHTML and C#. The Microsoft TV Tools Suite is based on leading Microsoft Visual Studio®
      .NET tools and is distributed through the Microsoft TV Developer Program.

“Microsoft TV Foundation delivers on the new strategy we announced at last year’s National Show. Next in our line of solutions for thin-client set-top boxes after Microsoft TV IPG, Microsoft TV Foundation has been built from the ground up as a product that enables the entire industry — from operators to programmers and original equipment manufacturers to developers — to get the most value from today’s hardware and infrastructure,”
said Moshe Lichtman, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV Division at Microsoft.
“On-demand services will grow more important as a competitive differentiator for cable, and Microsoft TV Foundation helps maximize revenues by enabling more flexible and targeted marketing of these services. It is a software platform for operators to build their on-demand world.”

“Network operators need to prove the value of digital cable to their subscribers, and a great way to do this is by adding easy-to-use features that improve the television-viewing experience,”
said Greg Ireland, interactive consumer services analyst for IDC.
“Deploying ‘smart’ software will help network operators begin to see a return on investment from network upgrades and retain valuable digital cable subscribers.”

About the Microsoft TV Platform

Microsoft TV is a family of standards-based client and server software products and related developer tools that help network operators create digital TV services which delight subscribers and derive more value from digital TV investments. Microsoft TV enables the delivery of new services such as video on demand, On-Demand Storefronts, interactive program guides, managed content services, digital video recording, enhanced programming, e-mail, instant messaging and more across a full range of set-top boxes and TV devices. More information about Microsoft TV 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 and Visual Studio are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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