The Active Network


Microsoft Pioneers Development of End-to-End Solutions In Interactive TV Space

Microsoft Continues to Build Momentum by Aligning With Key Broadcast Production System Providers Such as Grass Valley Group, Vertigo Multimedia, Video Design Interactive and Norpak Corp.

LAS VEGAS, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Today at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2000 convention, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT - news) announced alliances with three additional television production system providers -- Grass Valley Group Inc., Vertigo Multimedia and Video Design Interactive -- to develop support for the Microsoft® TV platform. These leading providers enable production and transmission of interactive content and are incorporating interactive TV capabilities into their product lines. Today's announced collaboration will further enable the creation of mainstream interactive television by providing easy-to-use tools for the television industry. In addition, Microsoft and Norpak Corp. announced that they are working together to broaden support and implementation for interactive television.

These alliances demonstrate growing support by the industry for the Microsoft TV platform. Microsoft first announced alliances in this space with other market leaders such as Chyron Corp., Harris Automation Solutions (makers of Louth Automation Systems), Peak Broadcast Systems, Avid Technology Inc. and Associated Press Electronic News Production System (ENPS) at the Western Cable Show last December. With the added support of these new tool providers, the Microsoft TV platform now has backing from a full spectrum of television production system providers, encompassing relationships with companies involved in every aspect of the production chain of the television industry -- from production and post-production to transmission and distribution. Each of these providers plans to develop products that are compliant with the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification.

In supporting the Microsoft TV platform and ATVEF, broadcasters can create new business opportunities, encompassing new revenue streams from e-commerce via the television, and can easily integrate interactive programming into current production processes with minimal impact on staffing and expense.

``We are very excited by the increased support for the Microsoft TV platform from market leaders in television production tools to enable mainstream delivery of enhanced television content and make interactive TV programming a reality for consumers,'' said Phil Goldman, vice president, Microsoft TV Platform Group at Microsoft. ``The progress that our previously announced tool provider partners have made to date is impressive and these tools are changing the way people develop programming today. We will continue to work with companies in this growing industry to address their needs so that we can bring the most innovative enhanced TV experience to consumers.''

Grass Valley Group

The Grass Valley Group is a recognized leader in high-quality video. Whether on the air or online, the Emmy® award-winning Grass Valley Group has the hardware, software and new media technologies necessary to get content wherever it needs to go -- broadcast television, data-enhanced broadcasting, interactive television, Digital Cinema and the Internet. Grass Valley and Microsoft have teamed up to put ATVEF-compliant technology into the Profile XP media platform. This allows for content providers and advertisers to store and recall digitally recorded content (commercials and programs) with the interactive elements embedded. It will also enable editing of the interactive data and placement within the program.

``At Grass Valley Group, our customers are telling us that interactive television is not a matter of 'if' but 'how soon,' and they're saying 'very, very soon,''' said Tim Thorsteinson, president and chief operating officer of the Grass Valley Group. ``As broadcasting gives way to what we call 'digicasting,' teaming with Microsoft will help provide our customers with competitive technologies that deliver a high-value experience to their viewers, no matter the digital pipeline.''


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