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Club Internet Tunes into Microsoft TV

France’s Club Internet, itself a branch fof Deutsche Telecom, will be the first provider in Europe to offer digital television service via the Microsoft TV platform.

Club Internet’s offerings will be available to existing customers in July and to new customers beginning in August. The plans are being billed as a “triple play” by combining IPTV services with high-speed digital voice and data services in a bundling arrangement designed to offer simplified management and billing to consumers.

“We are delighted with our alliance with Microsoft TV. Equipped with 1,000 VOD and SVOD programs and 150 TV programs, Club Internet television service will provide the consumer with real added value thanks to its user-friendly interface. With this new generation of digital television, Club Internet is revolutionizing IPTV and inventing television on demand,” said Marie-Christine Levet, president of Club Internet/T-Online France.

The service will operate via a set-top box from Linksys which can handle both high-definition and digital terrestrial broadcasts, in addition to accessing a broad range of on-demand programming and broadcast channels over high-speed data connections. The service also offers DVR functionality with 50 hours of recording time, picture-in-picture capability, and instantaneous channel-changing: no several-second pause between stations.

“Working together, Microsoft and Club Internet are helping to create a revolution in TV entertainment for consumers across France. Club Internet can combine its experience in pioneering innovative Internet services with the power of next-generation IPTV technologies to deliver unique TV and communications services that are truly integrated,” said Christine Heckart, general manager of Marketing for Microsoft TV.

Club Internet has about half a million high-speed Internet customers, putting it behind leading French broadband providers Orange, Iliad, and Neuf Cegetel. Microsoft and Deutsche Telecom plan to being similar offerings to the U.K. and Germany later this year.

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