Tesco and Microsoft Bring Next-Generation Movie Experience to U.K. Consumers

LONDON — Sept. 9, 2009 — Tesco, one of the world’s leading retailers, and Microsoft Corp., worldwide leader in software, today announced a collaboration to launch the next generation of home video viewing. The new service, built on Microsoft Silverlight technology, will deliver a similar level of quality as consumers have come to expect from DVD and Blu-ray, but with advanced Web-based interactivity and a viewing experience that goes beyond other digital playback products in the marketplace.

Starting in the autumn, Tesco will allow customers in the U.K. who purchase certain home video titles from Tesco to download “digital copy” versions of movies to their Windows-based or Apple Macintosh computers in a “virtual DVD” experience. The digital copy versions will include a similar level of video quality, interactivity and bonus content available on the physical products. In addition, the digital copy versions will provide consumers with extra network-connected features such as auto-updated trailers, exclusive bonus content, movie viewing parties with online chat, related music offerings such as MP3s and ring tones, and networked games.

“Tesco is excited to be the first retailer to partner with a broad range of major movie studios to offer this next-generation movie experience,” said Rob Salter, category director for Entertainment at Tesco. “For the first time, consumers will be able to enjoy a DVD equivalent experience with digital movies, which paves the way for more advanced viewing experiences enabled through Silverlight.

“This is just the beginning. In the future we expect to offer our customers innovative digital solutions that far exceed the DVD experience and deliver exclusive content, Web events and services wherever and whenever they want them,” Salter said.

The underlying technology that enables these experiences is the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in, which powers rich, interactive experiences on Windows-based PCs and Apple Macintosh computers across all popular Web browsers. Silverlight provides a powerful engine for premium media experiences and sophisticated network-connected applications. It also enables developers and designers to build and deliver the same application anywhere Silverlight is running.

“Microsoft is committed to enhancing digital entertainment to deliver richer quality video and, ultimately, more enjoyable and interactive experiences for the viewer through technologies like Microsoft Silverlight,” said Gabriele Di Piazza, senior director for the Media & Entertainment business in the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “We believe this alliance will offer consumers in the U.K., and eventually additional markets, the opportunity to download a digital copy that is truly the equivalent of a physical disk — with the same package of navigation, bonus features and director commentaries.”

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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