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Microsoft Releases TV Platform

Microsoft Corp. Monday launched the Microsoft TV Platform, an open, standards-based solution that provides a scalable platform for enabling enhanced-TV services.

The Microsoft TV Platform includes technologies that will enable network operators to deliver Enhanced-TV services to both set-top boxes currently on the market and new, advanced set-top boxes expected to be rolled out later this year.

More than 100 companies, including content developers, tools vendors, ISVs, IHVs, systems integrators and OEMs, are engaged in various stages of creating solutions based on the Microsoft TV Platform.

"We are thrilled not only to offer an expanded product line, but also to see an ever-increasing level of industry support for the Microsoft TV Platform," said Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Consumer Group at Microsoft.

"With the addition of the two newest members of the Microsoft TV Platform family, network operators now have the widest range of options to suit their strategic needs for deployment, enabling them to offer compelling new Enhanced-TV services to their customers."

The Microsoft TV Platform supports a broad menu of new TV applications and services, including multiplayer gaming, interactive content, shopping, e-mail, chat, pay-per-view, video on demand, personalized advertising and Internet access.

The Microsoft TV Platform consists of four software solutions for both current- and next-generation set-top boxes and integrated- TV devices:

  • Microsoft TV Advanced is designed for use in advanced digital and analog TV devices. The software adapts and extends the Microsoft Windows CE operating system to television products and supports features including an integrated browser environment for television, graphics and streaming audio and video services, communications and home networking services, conditional access, an electronic programming guide (EPG), built-in applications such as Personal TV and multiplayer gaming, and a set of developer interfaces for third-party applications and services
  • Microsoft TV Basic Digital client software is designed to bring enhanced-TV services to the current generation of set-top boxes based on digital cable, satellite, digital terrestrial and MMDS networks. Microsoft TV Basic Digital integrates the NDS VideoGuard conditional access product, which provides a path for network operators that want to expand their support for basic video-centric services to encompass more enhanced-TV services
  • Microsoft TV Server is designed to be the foundation of a network operator's enhanced-TV services, managing the set-top boxes and the services on the network. Microsoft TV Server provides network operators with a range of software components to build, deliver and manage large-scale, commercial-grade enhanced-TV and TV-commerce services
  • Microsoft TV Access Channel Server software offers cable operators a solution for delivering interactive content and services to the current generation of digital set-top boxes. By enabling the use of current-generation set-top boxes, network operators can preserve current investments in digital cable. Using patented technology developed at Peach Networks Ltd., Microsoft TV Access Channel Server enables service providers to "narrowcast" application sessions over MPEG2 video to digital cable set-top boxes