Microsoft Unveils TV Platform and Service Offerings for Cable MSOs

Availability of End-to-End Broadband Solution to Facilitate Transition To Digital Cable Infrastructure

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Dec. 2, 1998 - - At the 1998 Western Cable Show today, Microsoft Corp. announced it will offer a set of television-based software platform products and associated network services to deliver a complete digital solution for cable system operators and broadband service providers.

The offerings consist of a software platform designed specifically for multiple system operators (MSOs) based on the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server operating system, Microsoft Commercial Internet System (MCIS) and WebTV™ technologies, and service offerings including the WebTV service and the MSN™ network of Internet services. Demonstrations of these new offerings will be shown throughout the conference at Microsoft's booth, 4667, Hall D.

"Microsoft is committed to supporting the cable industry and its efforts to transition to a broader set of digital services," said Steve Perlman, president, WebTV Networks, Inc., Microsoft. "By enabling the development of digital services and interactive programming, the Microsoft WebTV television software platform and related service offerings will help cable operators to seamlessly deliver both an enriched television-viewing experience and additional new interactive and data services that will help build consumer loyalty and increase profitability."

TV Software Platform

The Microsoft WebTV television software platform for broadband access and digital TV services combines proven server technologies currently used in the cable industry, such as Windows NT Server and MCIS, with the Windows® CE operating system for the set-top box and WebTV technologies to enable broadband service providers to build their consumer services with increased functionality. Cable operators can utilize these technologies individually or combine them into one platform to supply the necessary features to support long-term broadband service including cable modem support, basic Internet access, video on demand, e-mail, chat capabilities, games, interactive programming, electronic programming guides and more.

Network Services

Microsoft network service offerings for broadband service providers consist of three core options: the WebTV service, MSN portal services and MSN content. Cable operators will have the choice of integrating these services into their existing digital broadband networks as-is or cobranding them and adding specific content according to their individual needs for a unique, customized offering.

These service offerings can provide varying levels of content and features and can be used to supplement MSOs' current service offerings or to build a private network service for subscribers. The WebTV service offering enables cable operators to create their own "WebTV-like" experience using their own service or the WebTV service. As a result, cable operators can now expand their broadband offering to include an integrated Web and television service and enable cable TV subscribers to customize their television viewing experience.

Cable operators can use the WebTV brand and service to deliver an enhanced broadband TV viewing experience that combines interactive programming features with an easy-to-navigate portal for Web search and browsing, community, content aggregation, multimedia e-mail and chat. In addition, the WebTV service allows cable operators to provide additional TV-related features such as searchable TV program listings, one-touch VCR programming, show reminders, program information descriptions and smarter channel surfing.

Cable providers seeking a cost-effective, rapid-time-to-market solution for offering an integrated Internet portal can now utilize the MSN portal service combined with its related content (the Expedia™ travel service, the CarPoint™ online automotive service, the Sidewalk® online guide and others) to immediately deliver a compelling and consistent experience for consumers. Alternately the MSN content-only offering allows cable operators with existing portal services to select from specific MSN content packages (including Expedia, CarPoint, Sidewalk and others) to provide unique, predefined content for specific user and community needs.


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