Microsoft continues its quest to power your HDTV using Windows operating systems and is now making it easier for IPTV service providers to compete with Cable MSO‘s and Satellite carriers, while adding significant value. At CES this week Microsoft has announced a new version of its TV service operator software Mediaroom:
While the original version of Mediaroom enabled services to be viewed on TV set-top boxes and on Xbox 360 game consoles, Mediaroom 2.0 alleviates the need for operators to deploy redundant systems, allowing them to expand the reach of their television service to include Windows 7-based PCs via Windows Media Center, Web browsers on both Macs and Windows-based PCs and, in the future, compatible smartphones. Mediaroom 2.0 also gives TV service operators the ability to reach beyond their managed IPTV networks, extending their television services to their unmanaged broadband networks. As a result, operators have the ability to offer content from a vast number of television and Internet sources, and deliver it to more viewers in more places than ever before.
If no one else, Bill Lake should be excited. Who is Bill Lake, you ask? Here’s a piece from Multichannel News last month:
FCC Media Bureau chief Bill Lake reiterated his call for TV convergence as a way to help drive broadband adoption — 99% of households have TVs vs. 76% with computers, the FCC has pointed out before. He also conceded that the FCC’s effort to spur a robust retail set-top market had failed, an assessment already mirrored by the cable industry.
Mediaroom features in Windows 7 open up a potentially large market. IPTV customers, AT&T U-verse being the lead example, could opt out of a leased set-top box in favor of a custom gateway built from:
- a newly purchased Windows 7 PC
- upgrading an older Vista PC to Windows 7
- a new or existing XBox Game Console
D-I-Y Home Theater PC’s are not for the meek and unnecessary in this day and age of abundant internet appliance options, as explained in this NY Times video. Leaving XBox…
Windows 7 may very well be at the center of Microsoft‘s strategy, but if Mediaroom adoption takes off, XBox will be well positioned among the sea of internet appliances as an IPTV gateway. Engadget, in its coverage of this report, reminds us that this is not the first time Microsoft has touted XBox as a Mediaroom extender.
Just a quick little note from Microsoft’s CES 2010 keynote, but man it’s a surprise. AT&T U-Verse subscribers will soon be able to use their Xbox 360s as a set-top box. AT&T U-Verse is the one IPTV provider in the US — admittedly there aren’t many — that utilizes Microsoft’s Mediaroom platform and while it was announced at CES three years ago that the 360 could act as a Mediaroom set-top, up until now AT&T customers didn’t have this option — well, maybe not now as an exact release date wasn’t mentioned. We also don’t have a clue if AT&T will charge for this type of thing. Another thing cool that was mentioned was that a Windows 7 PC can also work as a Mediaroom set-top and Mediaroom was even demoed on a Windows Mobile phone. via Xbox 360 will support AT&T’s U-Verse TV later this year — Engadget.
Three years is a long time in this industry. Microsoft learned plenty of lessons, no doubt, and will be applying new practices this time around. In case you are unfamiliar with Media Center for Windows 7, click on the video below. It is from last year, so there won’t be any mention of Mediaroom TV, but it may sway you to add a HTPC to your Home Theater and be prepared. In the meantime see what it offers and happy viewing!