At this week’s National Cable Television Association’s (NCTA) Cable 2000 show, Microsoft announced that more than 100 companies are developing television solutions based on its Microsoft TV Platform.
Microsoft TV enables interactive content to work on almost any TV set. The platform supports a menu of new TV applications, including multiplayer gaming, shopping, e-mail, chat, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, personalised advertising and Internet access.
Concurrent Computer Corp, DIVA, Intertainer, nCUBE and SeaChange International – all providers of Video On Demand products and/or services to the cable television industry – are integrating their products with the Microsoft TV Platform and plan to have Microsoft TV-based VOD solutions available later this year.
Microsoft and Matsushita Electric have already developed a working model of advanced digital cable set-top boxes for the US cable industry as a result of a memorandum of understanding entered into between the companies in July 1998.
Matsushita demonstrated the new Panasonic-branded digital interactive set-top box at the show. It complies with the OpenCable specification, supports the IEEE 1394 home-networking specification, and supports Internet browsing and e-mail.
For its part, NagraVision, the digital pay TV division of the Kudelski Group, a provider of open conditional access and advanced system management tools and solutions for cable, satellite and terrestrial operators, has integrated of its open conditional access technology with the Microsoft TV Advanced client software for advanced set-top boxes. Nagravision and Microsoft have signed of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further integrate NagraVision technologies across the Microsoft TV Platform.
Another MOU – this time between Microsoft and Pace – includes plans for Microsoft to adopt Pace’s digital set-top box technology as a core reference platform for digital television applications.