REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 23, 2010 — In the past weeks, we have shown how the Windows Media Center feature in Windows Embedded Standard 7 can be used by OEMs to build uniquely branded experiences on consumer-facing connected media devices (CMDs) such as set-top boxes and DVRs, and how Intel and Microsoft are collaborating to provide a strong offering for device manufacturers building CMDs with rich user experiences for consumers at the Intel Developer Forum.
This week, we will take a closer look at Microsoft’s connected TV (CTV) strategy.
With research showing that the market for connected devices in the home will grow rapidly in the coming years, Microsoft is making a major investment in the media and entertainment space — both in terms of innovation and depth of industry expertise.
Microsoft’s goal is to create a compelling digital home entertainment platform for a broad set of customer segments that targets the mainstream consumer market. In the coming months, Microsoft will develop a set of technical tools, guidelines and training to educate OEMs how to optimize Windows Embedded Standard 7 for consumer electronics devices. The company will adopt a phased product development process to ensure flexibility to meet customers’ needs for getting their products to market.
The Windows Media Center feature in Windows Embedded Standard 7 fits right into this strategy, offering a customizable, expandable and flexible platform, a full digital media feature set; it is optimized for TVs, set-top-boxes and other non-PC hardware. When combined with other key Microsoft consumer products, such as Xbox 360, Windows Home Server or Zune, it allows OEMs to create “better together” scenarios for their customers. It should be pointed out that OEMs do have the option of leveraging their own user interfaces when building connected media devices based on Windows Embedded Standard 7. This alternative is available for manufacturers that have invested in — or have specific feature, brand or strategic reasons for using — their own user interfaces. However, adopting the Media Center user interface and underlying technologies may offer OEMs an optimal time-to-market solution.
Partnerships also play a key role in Microsoft’s strategy, as the company identifies “market makers,” such as OEMs and service providers, as well as “market enablers,” such as chipset manufacturers, designers and independent software vendors (ISVs), to partner with to continue to improve CMDs for end consumers.