At the NXTcomm conference in Chicago, software giant Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft Mediaroom, a new version of the company’s IPTV platform currently deployed by AT&T and over a dozen other Internet television operators in Europe and Asia. Mediaroom adds image and music sharing features to the platform, along with picture-in-picture capabilities and features which will enable applications to access the Internet without an intervening Web browser.
“Microsoft is committed to providing our IPTV customers with the very best software platform so they can take full advantage of their intelligent, two-way IP networks, and begin deploying richer and more personalized TV and connected entertainment experiences,” said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate VP of Microsoft’s TV business, in a release. “With personal media sharing and new application development capabilities, Microsoft Mediaroom brings the consumer television experience to a new level, enabling the best in TV, plus access to all your media in one place.”
Microsoft Mediaroom looks to build on existing features in Microsoft’s previous IPTV offering, enabling customers to tap into digital music and photographs stored on PCs on their home network, enhancing multiview capabilities so customers can view multiple channels (or camera angles) on one screen, and boosting features for IPTV application developers so they can build video-on-demand portals as well as offer interactive services and even casual games.
According to Rodriguez, the decision to rebrand Microsoft’s IPTV platform as Mediaroom is an effort to emphasize that the platform extends beyond traditional television into personal media sharing and Internet-based applications. Microsoft is looking to the IPTV market as an area which will experience significant growth, with industry analysis firm Gartner recently forecasting IPTV subscriptions worldwide will reach 50 million by 2010. Microsoft would love to be the platform on which the looming IPTV business is built.