Microsoft Launches New Worldwide Platform for Broadcast TV on the PC

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Sept. 12, 2008 — Today at IBC2008, Microsoft Corp. announced it has delivered in the marketplace Protected Broadcast Driver Architecture (PBDA), Microsoft’s new worldwide platform for broadcast TV on the PC. Made possible by the recent release of Windows Media Center TV Pack, the platform for the first time enables the PC-TV hardware ecosystem to integrate virtually any free or premium TV service into Windows Media Center, while satisfying the TV industry’s requirements for strong content protection in the case of pay TV. Among the leading companies rallying behind PBDA at the show are AVerMedia Inc., Buffalo, Hauppauge Computer Works Inc., I-O Data Device Inc., NEC Electronics Corp., NXP Semiconductors and ViXS Systems Inc. — all playing a critical role in driving the forward momentum for PBDA adoption.

The PBDA platform enhances and supersedes the existing Broadcast Driver Architecture (BDA), which has been Microsoft’s standard for digital video capture on Windows operating systems for many years. Now, PC OEMs and tuner-makers no longer need to rely heavily on Microsoft to specifically enable and support the ability to output broadcast services on a one-off basis; they can develop and ship TV tuners for Windows Media Center to target a broader set of TV standards and markets. For broadcast service providers, the flexibility of one consistent platform that supports multiple TV standards specifically for protected content opens the door for more consumer options to be made available.

“For the first time, we’re enabling those in the PC-TV community to build tuners and integrate almost any broadcast service into Windows Media Center themselves regardless of geographic location or television standard — we’ve removed a major roadblock by delivering one consistent platform for the industry,” said Geoff Robertson, general manager for Windows Media Center at Microsoft. “The tremendous response we’re already seeing for the platform means PC OEMs, broadcast service providers and tuner-makers can now collaborate and embrace the PC as a first-class citizen for delivering more high-quality free or pay content to consumers in their local markets. This is a major milestone for us and our partners as we continue our efforts to deliver the highest-quality, personalized TV-watching experiences available to people everywhere.”

The momentum behind this new platform from Microsoft is already being evidenced by the launch of PBDA-based tuner solutions in Japan, Germany and the U.K., including Hauppauge’s first-ever Freeview-certified PC-TV tuner solution and AVerMedia’s tuner solution for protected digital terrestrial television in Japan.

In addition, leading chipset providers NEC Electronics, NXP and ViXS Systems are announcing that they have all completed their implementations of PBDA and are now ready to support their PC-TV tuner partners in taking PBDA-based solutions to multiple markets around the world.

“We are excited to be a launch partner for Microsoft’s PBDA platform,” said Allan Yang, Ph.D., president of AVerMedia. “PBDA has enabled us to quickly and cost-effectively bring to market A320, a PC-TV tuner solution for Windows Media Center that meets the Japanese broadcasting industry’s requirements for strong content protection. The resulting system performance delivers a surprisingly responsive user experience, and the response from our customers, who are some of the most demanding PC OEMs in Japan, has been phenomenal. We are looking forward to building on the very successful launch of our PBDA-based solution beyond Japan.”

“Microsoft’s new digital TV software architecture, PBDA, enabled Hauppauge to deliver the first-ever Freeview-certified TV tuner for PCs,” said Ken Potkin, CEO of Hauppauge. “We look forward to 2009, when PBDA will allow us to deliver advanced digital PC-TV tuner products, including PC solutions for pay TV.”

“The extended capabilities, which Microsoft’s worldwide PBDA platform for pay TV and free-to-air TV brings to Windows Media Center, mirror NXP’s commitment to power the TV-viewing experience by enabling access to more content with ever better picture quality anytime, anywhere, in the home and on the go,” said Bert van de Wakker, general manager, PC Systems, NXP Semiconductors. “Specifically, PBDA support combined with our new-generation three-in-one PCTV SOC SAA7231 product line, enables PC OEMs to offer 30 million European households the ability to record and view hundreds of free-to-air digital satellite channels on their PC, complementing SAA7231DE’s established DVB-T, analog terrestrial and cable support. In addition, PBDA has enabled us to provide a highly integrated, secure and cost-effective solution for protected digital terrestrial television in Japan using our secure Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB)-analog reception, SAA7164E SOC.”

The PBDA platform is a key component of the Windows Media Center TV Pack, an update released to OEMs worldwide on July 16, 2008, with targeted optimizations for Europe in particular. Some of the other features of this update include native Windows Media Center experiences for digital terrestrial television in Japan (based on the Integrated Services Digital Television-Terrestrial standard), free-to-air satellites services in Europe (based on the Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite standard), improved guide and playback experience, great personal video recorder auto-extend support, and the flexibility of support for multiple TV standards.

Windows Media Center TV Pack will be demonstrated at IBC2008 at the Microsoft stand in the Topaz Lounge. Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to experience the latest Windows Media Center functionality delivered in combination with some of the latest PBDA-based tuner products from partners.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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