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Microsoft Gives Liftoff to Next Generation of Interactive TV


Broadcaster application shows what audiences can expect from interactive TV

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands .— Microsoft Corp. unveiled technology that makes it easy for service providers and content owners to develop a new generation of groundbreaking interactive TV services. Microsoft is showcasing interactive applications that point the way to how people could experience TV in the future.

The demonstrations on display at IBC include the first public viewing of an interactive application developed for the Microsoft Mediaroom platform by emuse technologies using content from the BBC. The application shows how the broadcaster’s original journalistic content, including news, sports and weather, could look in the future. Building on the success of Red Button and BBC iPlayer, the application provides interactive access to a huge breadth and depth of the broadcaster’s content and services via an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.

The BBC application also brings user-generated content and social networking functionality to the TV screen. Viewers can access images and video uploaded by others, and recommend and share programs with friends. Important for publishers, the application demonstrates how they can integrate interactive TV as part of a multiplatform system. No extra journalistic effort is required to make content available on Web, mobile and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) platforms.

Other interactive Mediaroom demos include an application that overlays information widgets, developed by ES3. This application focuses on the collation of real-time content and information from the Web, including stock prices, horoscopes, local weather and famous quotes. It demonstrates how TV operators can cost-effectively repurpose content onto the TV in a highly personalized and easy-to-use way.

Another application being shown is a social-networking-on-TV application, also designed and built by emuse technologies, connecting viewers to their social networks through the TV via Windows Live services and enabling them to share personal pages that exist online and on the TV.

“These applications set the benchmark for a new generation of interactive TV,” said Stephen Petheram, director of media services, EMEA and APAC, for Microsoft Mediaroom. “They show the potential of connected TV powered by Microsoft Mediaroom to deliver consumer experiences that seamlessly blend real-time content and services from the Internet and private data sources with broadcast TV.”

Petheram added, “With leading service provider customers around the world, Microsoft Mediaroom provides a common platform for content owners to deliver enhanced TV experiences for their worldwide audiences in an exciting and cost-effective manner.”

The applications are built using Microsoft’s new Mediaroom Presentation Framework, which provides the building blocks needed for creating innovative, robust and intuitive user experiences for TV. Microsoft released the beta software to 100-plus customers and developers in May this year. The full release of the technology is expected to begin to be deployed on customer networks this year, with the first live applications expected in 2009.

Microsoft Mediaroom has a global customer base including leading telecommunications operators such as AT&T, BT and Deutsche Telekom. To date, these customers have connected more than 1.5 million subscriber homes, and the number is growing rapidly.


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