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CES Feature Articles

January 07, 2010

Microsoft Intros Mediaroom 2.0 at CES 2010

Microsoft is taking advantage of the crowds at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES (News - Alert)) to announce the Microsoft Mediaroom 2.0. This next version of the company’s highly deployed Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) platform is designed to enable television service operators to provide their TV services to more subscribers than ever before and deliver more content to more screens than the previous version.

Operators will be able to deploy Mediaroom 2.0 as their entertainment cloud to power the delivery of complete television service such as digital video recording (DVR), on-demand features, interaction applications and access to operator-hosted and externally hosted content. Operators will be able to begin testing on the platform next month.

The service will be offered to subscribers on televisions, Windows Media Center, Web browsers (for Windows-based PCs and Macs), Xbox 360 and compatible smartphones. Mediaroom 2.0 will enable service providers to offer existing on-demand TV service to their entire broadband customer base with existing inventory.

Support for Microsoft (News - Alert) Silverlight and Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming enables access and delivery of on-demand content. As a result, viewers can enjoy a high-quality playback experience as the video stream adapts to the user’s network connection. At the same time, support for Microsoft PlayReady preserves the service providers' ability to secure their content libraries and monetize consumer experiences.

'Our strategy with Mediaroom is to combine the power of client software and cloud-based services to greatly enhance the way consumers experience digital entertainment,” said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president for the TV, Video and Music Business at Microsoft, in a statement.

“We want to make it easier for consumers to find and discover great content, to watch, listen and engage in new ways, and to do so anywhere and on any screen. Mediaroom 2.0 is a key milestone in our strategy, providing the software platform to power operators' service clouds to reach more screens, and more people, with more content than ever before.'

Traditionally, Mediaroom deployments have been delivered over a fixed-line managed Quality of Service (QoS) IP network. With the integration of IIS Smooth Streaming technology, operators can now offer a premium, HD-quality video-on-demand service with minimal buffering and fast startup times.

Consumers will benefit as more people in more places will have access to the experienced of Mediaroom-powered TV services. At the same time, they will enjoy an optimal viewing experience as a result of built-in support of IIS Smooth Streaming.

For operators, this latest launch will also mean more revenue. Analyst firm Screen Digest reports that the top five Mediaroom customers generate on-demand average revenues per user (ARPUs) that are on average three times that of the incumbent TV operator in their market.

The new on-demand storefront is designed to drive subscriber usage and satisfaction through richly visual browsing, discovery and playback experience while also offering easy access to other elements of the operator’s service directly from the storefront.

In other CES news, Samsung (News - Alert) introduced a new portfolio of LCD HDTVs including the 750 and 650 Series. The devices feature better picture quality and advanced connectivity capabilities. Toshiba (News - Alert) unveiled its latest HDTV – the Cell TV. Expect to see this latest Toshiba creation on the market in third or fourth quarter 2010.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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