Microsoft Technology Powers Leading Broadcast Tools And IPTV Solutions at IBC2004

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 10, 2004 — Today at IBC2004, the International Broadcasters Convention, Microsoft Corp. is highlighting a range of new broadcast technologies and delivery solutions built for the Microsoft® TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), Windows Media® 9 Series and Windows®
CE platforms.

Microsoft announced significant progress in its IPTV-based initiatives, unveiling the first set-top boxes to support its IPTV platform from Thomson. In addition, Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded Devices Division announced eight additional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that will use Windows CE to power their IP set-top boxes.

Microsoft’s Windows Digital Media Division announced that leading product vendors will demonstrate end-to-end, high-definition (HD) encoding and playback solutions using Microsoft Windows Media 9 Series, showcasing real-time software- and hardware-based HD encoding solutions, as well as Microsoft’s gaining momentum in standards development organizations.

IPTV Gains Momentum, Powered by Microsoft TV and Windows CE

The Microsoft TV Division has developed an end-to-end IPTV software platform that enables broadband network operators to deliver better TV services and connected experiences across devices in the home using their existing and next-generation networks. Leading network operators worldwide, including Bell Canada, Reliance Infocomm Ltd., SBC Communications Inc. and Swisscom/Bluewin, plan to test and deploy next-generation pay-TV services based on the Microsoft TV IPTV platform. At IBC2004, Microsoft is showcasing its leadership in the growing IPTV industry with announcements of partner deployment progress and demonstrations of the platform integrated with technology from leading vendors that are working to make IPTV a reality. In addition, Microsoft and Thomson are announcing availability of the first IPTV-enabled set-top boxes for Microsoft’s current IPTV customers, and TANDBERG Television is unveiling the first demonstration of its EN5920 real-time hardware encoder integrated with the Microsoft TV IPTV platform.

“We’re very excited with the significant progress we’ve made since announcing our IPTV efforts. In less than a year Microsoft has signed agreements with a number of the world’s leading broadband operators to trial IPTV services powered by our innovative software solutions,” said Moshe Lichtman, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV Division. “World leaders including Bell Canada, Reliance Infocomm, SBC Communications, Swisscom/Bluewin and several other tier-one operators recognize the benefits that the Microsoft TV IPTV platform brings in enabling them to deliver competitive pay-TV services that help maximize the value of their broadband networks and complement their current voice and high-speed data offerings.”

Other leading manufacturers that have announced they will deliver advanced IP set-top boxes powered by Windows CE include AboCom Systems Inc., Akimbo Systems, Bast Inc., Dave Networks Inc., Handan BroadInfoCom, Humax Co. Ltd., ImpressTek and TCL International Holdings Ltd. Device makers and network operators have selected Windows CE to power their new lines of set-top boxes because of robust remote management capabilities, the option to add new applications and services to boxes in the field, a rich multimedia experience for users, and the ability to quickly integrate new applications with existing technologies, native support for the Windows Media 9 Series Codecs and DRM, robust remote management capabilities and the option to add new applications to boxes in the field. IP set-top boxes running Windows CE can be customized to enable cable and network operators to bring rich new multimedia experiences to their customers.

These new Windows CE partners are in addition to leading vendors Biostar Microtech Int’l Corp., Broadband Networks Inc., Costron Corp., Pace Micro Technology plc, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Tcom & dtvro Co. Ltd and Thomson. Additional examples of deployment include Handan’s Zenega brand, which was selected by T-Online in Germany, and Tcom & dtvro Co. Ltd., which has deployed more than 150,000 units in a hotel chain in Japan.

Transition to HD Made Possible With Windows Media 9 Series

The advanced compression efficiencies and scalability of Windows Media 9 Series, along with its strong support in the standards community, are making leading-edge, end-to-end HD scenarios possible. At IBC2004, leading product vendors will demonstrate end-to-end HD encoding and playback solutions using Microsoft Windows Media 9 Series. Real-time software and hardware-based HD encoding solutions were demonstrated by companies including Inlet Technologies, TANDBERG Television, Tarari Inc. and Telestream Inc. Real-time Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9) hardware-based HD encoding and decoding chipsets and reference designs were announced and will be demonstrated by Equator Technologies Inc., Sigma Designs Inc., STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments Inc. for set-top boxes and next-generation DVD players, further extending the reach beyond the Windows-based PC.

The ability for the broadcast industry to independently develop its own interoperable applications and solutions based on the high-quality video compression of Windows Media 9 Series becomes even greater as it gains momentum with standards development organizations. The standardization of Windows Media Video 9 into the VC-1 video codec standard (formerly VC-9) recently passed the SMPTE Committee Draft (CD) milestone with SMPTEs C-24 group and has received acceptance by the Blu-ray Disc Association and the DVD Forums HD DVD. Microsoft is a founding member of Advanced Access Content System, an organization defining the next-generation copy protection for HD content in optical media.

Microsoft Booths at IBC2004

Microsoft has two booths at IBC2004 highlighting a variety of partners, customers and solutions such as the BBC, Canopus Co. Ltd., Harmonic Inc., SeaChange International Inc., Sonic Solutions, TANDBERG Television and Thomson. HD video solutions and partners will be demonstrated in Hall 7 in Booth 821, while IPTV solutions and partners will be located in Hall 1 in Booth 548.

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