LAS VEGAS – Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is issuing an update to its TV middleware platform Mediaroom that will allow service providers to offer the IPTV service directly on new devices, including Windows computers, compatible smartphones and through the Xbox 360, without the need for additional hardware. With Mediaroom 2.0, everything a subscriber can do on the TV – view premium channels, recorded, video on-demand, interactive applications, etc. – will all be available through a broadband connection.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the update in a relatively low-key keynote presentation focused on new PC form factors and gaming that kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show last night. The Mediaroom overhaul is significant, however, as Microsoft’s develops its own cloud-based strategy to keep up with the TV Anywhere initiatives pay TV providers are currently exploring.
“We believe in an approach that combines the power of immersive and intelligent software that runs on devices along with smart and intuitive services access instantly via the cloud,” Ballmer told keynote attendees.
Microsoft is calling the service a way for IPTV providers to deploy their “entertainment clouds,” including cloud-based DVR and interactive TV features. Mediaroom currently has more than four million customers globally, and its biggest customer in the US, AT&T, has reportedly passed more than two million homes. The new service will enable its Mediaroom-powered U-Verse IPTV service on their PC, mobile phones or their Microsoft X-Box gaming console. Ballmer said all Mediaroom customers will also get access to new interactive content frameworks and next-generation content experiences based on the Silverlight platform.
Mediaroom 2.0 will also enable operators to expand their IPTV network by extending their existing VOD services to their entire broadband customer base without upgrading the set-top boxes currently on the market, the company said in a press release following the keynote. VOD libraries can also be viewed on Windows 7 PCs, through Windows Media Center and the Xbox 360.
“TV becomes a lot more fun when it’s powered by a PC, but when you add Microsoft Mediaroom, you get more,” said Ryan Asdourian, senior product manager for Windows, in the keynote. The Mediaroom 2.0 update will be available to developers next month and will include access to operator-hosted content and externally hosted content like Internet TV.
Microsoft Mediaroom 1 and 2.0
|Screens||TV via set-top box and Xbox 360||
|Networks||Managed QoS IP network||
|Content||Operator-ingested content only||