CES 2008: Microsoft Details IPTV Progress

Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV Software Available in 1M Set-Tops

Las Vegas -- Software giant Microsoft announced at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show here that it has deployed its Microsoft Mediaroom software for Internet-protocol-TV services in 1 million set-tops to date.

Microsoft Mediaroom

Mediaroom is commercially deployed by some 14 operators worldwide, including AT&T and Virginia-based nTelos in the United States, and it counts more than 20 operators in total. It should be deployed in some 1 million households by the end of the first quarter of 2008, Microsoft TV communications manager Jim Brady said.

Microsoft is pushing the theme of "Connected TV" with Mediaroom, and it will demonstrate new capabilities based on IP networking. One is fairly straightforward: enabling multiroom digital-video-recorder functionality, where a single DVR can send programming to other set-tops via a home network.

Such capability, which Microsoft calls "DVR Anywhere," is already offered by cable-equipment manufacturers such as Motorola and Cisco Systems’ Scientific Atlanta unit, and was deployed by Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV service, among others.

Microsoft is also teaming up with programmers to demonstrate how Mediaroom’s IP connectivity can change the viewing experience.

With Showtime, it demonstrated an interactive application for boxing coverage that allows a viewer to watch a fight while choosing from several different live audio feeds.

With Turner Broadcasting System, it showed an interactive application for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing coverage on TNT that will allow viewers to choose from the different in-car cameras and audio feeds that are already produced for the NASCAR HotPass service on DirecTV, showing the video in Mediaroom’s multiview display mode. It also demonstrated how CNN viewers could access political coverage from CNN.com through Mediaroom’s TV interface.

Microsoft also showed a TV and video-on-demand programming-recommendation application developed with personalization specialist ChoiceStream, aimed at cutting through the clutter of thousands of programming choices; and a social-networking application developed with Emuse Technologies that lets viewers share their personal Internet pages through the TV. "We’re bringing a PC-based social-networking experience to the TV," said Brady.

Microsoft also announced at CES that chip supplier Broadcom agreed to make IPTV set-top chips compatible with the Mediaroom software.