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Microsoft Announces Television Software Platform: Microsoft TV Platform Adaptation Kit (TVPAK)

More Than 30 Key Industry Leaders Announce Support for TVPAK

MONTREUX, Switzerland, and CHICAGO - June 14, 1999 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the product details of its client and server software for the television industry - the Microsoft® TV Platform Adaptation Kit (Microsoft TVPAK) - and confirmed that it has released the software in different forms to key industry leaders. The client software, Microsoft TV, operates a range of television-centric appliances from Internet terminals and advanced set-top boxes to integrated televisions, while the server software, Microsoft TV Server, will be used by network operators to deploy and manage a rich, scalable, enhanced TV service. More than 30 industry-leading companies are already actively working with the software, which merges Internet and television technologies, to create new devices, services and content to enhance the entertainment value and usefulness of television for consumers.

By working closely with supporters since the original announcement of this platform at the Western Cable Show in December 1998, Microsoft has been able to design the Microsoft TVPAK to support innovative new forms of entertainment, communication, information and e-commerce via the television, while helping companies in the TV industry increase the effectiveness of their core business: television services.

"The Microsoft TV platform is the best choice for the television industry to prosper from the convergence of the Internet, digital services and traditional broadcasting," said Jon DeVaan, vice president of the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft. "This Microsoft platform delivers to the television industry the control and flexibility it demands and the ability to deliver innovative new entertainment services and convenience to viewers."

About Microsoft TV

Microsoft TV provides a rich television and Web experience to consumers, utilizing the simplicity, technical excellence and elegance honed on the Microsoft WebTV Network™ service, while opening the technology and providing more options to more hardware providers, network operators and consumers worldwide. It uses an adaptation of the Windows® CE operating system, yet allows the network operator to customize the user interface to online content. The software kit includes a Microsoft-designed electronic program guide (EPG) as an optional component with the most advanced interactive features available today. It allows broadcasters and producers delivering interactive programming and content to build on the video programming and Internet expertise they already have to create enhanced, new consumer content and services. More than 50 hardware manufacturers received Microsoft TV code to evaluate and begin development of compatible receivers.

Microsoft TV supports worldwide digital TV broadcast standards, including DVB, ATSC, and ARIB. It also supports commonly used Internet standards such as HTML, JavaScript and Dynamic HTML, as well as all interactive content authored in the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) format.

About Microsoft TV Server

The Microsoft TV Server suite of components instantly gives network operators the tools to provision, manage and operate a large-scale, commercial-grade, enhanced TV service. It will further enhance the services and software deployed on Microsoft TV-based receivers. The server software is built on Windows 2000 Server, the Microsoft BackOffice® family and WebTV® technologies and is designed to integrate with a network operator's existing systems for billing, customer service, network management, video on demand, and other existing or specialized back-end applications. Microsoft TV Server offers a number of necessary and innovative features to improve the consumer's television experience and to make it easier to deploy services and operate a network. Microsoft TV Server software is scheduled to be available to network operators and others later this year, and is aimed at supporting large-scale commercial deployments in the first half of next year.

Industry Support

More than 30 companies have begun work with Microsoft using TVPAK, including network operators (cable, telecommunications, satellite, terrestrial), hardware manufacturers, independent hardware vendors, content developers, system integrators, network vendors and software developers. Like Microsoft, these leading companies think that as the television industry evolves, there is explosive potential to take advantage of broadband digital networks, the Internet and ever-decreasing costs for powerful hardware technology. Following is a list of the companies committed to working with Microsoft TVPAK software:

  • Network operators. AT&T, United Pan-Europe Communications N.V. (UPC) and TVCabo
  • Hardware manufacturers. General Instrument Corp., Scientific-Atlanta, Thomson Multimedia, StellarOne, Pace Micro Technology plc, Vestel USA Inc., Philips Electronics, Sagem, Siemens, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Sharp Corp., Sony Electronics Inc. (for WebTV set-top boxes), Fujitsu Ltd., Tatung Co., The Acer Group, Trigem Computer Inc. and Samsung Electronics Company Ltd.
  • Independent hardware vendors. NEC USA Inc., Intel Corp., Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices, Quantum Effect Design Inc., Integrated Device Technology Inc., Hitachi Semiconductor, iGS Technologies Inc., ATI Technologies Inc., Sigma Designs Inc., STMicroelectronics, C-Cube Microsystems, Cable Modem, Libit Signal Processing, Broadcom Corp. and 3COM Corp.
  • Hardware system integrators. Rachis, BSQUARE Corp., ITE and MetaByte Inc.
  • Infrastructure. Cable Data Inc. (billing and customer service), Portal Software Inc., NDS Ltd., NagraVision, General Instrument Corp., Scientific-Atlanta, and Philips (conditional access)
  • Systems video on demand and entertainment services. SeaChange International Inc., DIVA Systems Corp. and Intertainer Inc.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, WebTV Network, Windows, BackOffice and WebTV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Jodie Cadieux, Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft, (408) 986-1140, jodiec@wagged.com

Nikkol Nagle, Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft, (408) 986-1140, nikkoln@wagged.com

 

 

Microsoft TVPAK

Quote Sheet

June 1999

Multiple Service Operators

"We are pleased to be working with Microsoft Corp. on what we think will be an exciting project that will bring lots of value to our customers. We have ambitious plans for deploying advanced digital set-tops and services in the showcase cities with the Microsoft® TV Platform Adaptation Kit as the foundation to host new compelling content, services and applications on our network from the entertainment and Internet industries."

- Laurie Schwartz-Priddy

Executive Vice President

Advanced Technology

President and CEO

NDTC

AT&T

Press contact: Lee Munsell, AT&T, (303) 486-3814

 

"TVCabo is very pleased with the announcement and development plans for the Microsoft TVPAK technology. We look forward to continuing our work with the Microsoft team to understand how TVPAK will allow for a faster and more powerful Digital ITV deployment across our cable and satellite networks in the near future."

- Graça Bau

President

TVCabo

Press contact: Pedro Mota Carmo, +351 1 7914820, utvptpmc@tvcabo.mailpac.pt

 

"We selected Microsoft's TVPAK software offering as our end-to-end platform in the 1999 rollout of our digital services in The Netherlands and in Europe because of its impressive functionality, modularity, scalability and ease of implementation. The TVPAK solution enables UPC to continue its efforts to deploy Internet, video and voice services over its unified network."

- Scott Bachman

Chief Technical Officer

United Pan-Europe Communications N.V. (UPC)

Press contact: Henrietta Hirst, +44 171 518 7980, hhirst@upc.nl

Hardware Manufacturers

"Information appliances are the future product direction for Acer. We have been developing different types of information appliances such as the digital set-top box, Internet TV, a Windows-based terminal, and screen phones. Microsoft TV and Windows CE fit well into Acer's XC strategy to create an entire series of information appliances for our customers. I believe there will be more products coming in the near future."

- Rick Lei

Vice President

Computer Systems and Consumer Products Business Unit

The Acer Group

Press contact: Kevin Smith, +886-2-8691-2935, kevinsmith@acer.com.tw

 

"Fujitsu Ltd. is pleased to support the announcement of Microsoft TV today by Microsoft Corp. Moreover, Fujitsu Ltd. is currently studying and evaluating the Microsoft TV alpha release and is hoping to release Microsoft TVPAK-based service in the near future."

- Toshimasa Takihama

Director

WebTV Service Department

Integration Service Division, Network and Contents Business Group

Fujitsu Ltd.

Press contact: Toshimasa Takihama, Fujitsu Ltd., 81-44-754-8577, takihama@mmp.fujitsu.co.jp

 

"Rich software solutions like Microsoft TV are helping make advanced interactive services a reality. By offering advanced software suites like Microsoft TV on our powerful DCT-5000+ and DVi5000+ interactive digital platforms, we offer broadband network operators an unequaled solution for delivering advanced interactive applications including high-speed Internet access, e-mail, games, IP Telephony, video-on-demand and more. We and our customers, broadband network systems operators, have over 800 interactive digital systems deployed passing over 37 million households - far and away the largest interactive digital platform in the world. We are happy to now offer Microsoft TV as an option to all of our customers."

- David Robinson

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Digital Network Systems Business Unit

General Instrument Corp.

Press contact: Sharon Corbitt, (215) 323-1873, scorbitt@gi.com

Investor contact: Dario Santana, (215) 323-1213, dsantana@gi.com

 

"Hitachi has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure that our SH processors are well supported by Microsoft TV. Hitachi plans to roll out digital consumer devices based on this platform. Support of software platforms such as Microsoft TV is an integral part of our strategy to deliver a broad range of consumer devices and chipsets to network operators, solution developers and consumers."

- Phil Thomas

Vice President

Strategic Alliances

Hitachi Ltd.

Press contact: Jill Shanks, (650) 463-8625, jshanks@ca.webergroup.com

 

"Matsushita intends to promote the convergence of TV and the Internet, and Microsoft TV is an important tool to enable such convergence."

- Dr. Yoshitomi Nagaoka

Director and Member of the Board in Charge of AVC Products Development Laboratory

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.

Press contact: Jim Reilly, (201) 392-6067, ReillyJ@panasonic.com

 

"Pace is delighted to be working with Microsoft as a key participant on the deployment of Microsoft TVPAK. We have worked with broadcasters worldwide to develop digital television systems and believe that the advanced set-top box, as the gateway for interactive services, is set to explode. With our experience supporting British Telecom and Deutsche Telekom in WebTV® trials, and track record in digital cable, satellite and terrestrial, we will now be able to offer clients an exciting new solution, built on Microsoft TV and Pace technology, for digital television."

- Malcolm Miller

Chief Executive Officer

Pace Micro Technology plc

Press contact: Tammy Snook, (407) 667-9355, tammysnook@hotmail.com

"Philips, already a market leader in digital set-top boxes including Internet, cable and satellite devices, has enjoyed a successful cooperation with both Microsoft and WebTV Networks. We look forward to taking the relationship and the technology one step further by extending our reach with this application software into cable and satellite as well as Internet television receivers. TVPAK also supports the Philips CryptoWorks conditional access system. With the TVPAK platform, Microsoft is delivering its rich expertise in software applications development to a broad range of service operators. At the same time we are able to offer service providers more choice than ever in the development of highly customizable digital set-top solutions."

- Rob van Oostenbrugge

President, Philips Digital Video Systems

Philips Electronics

Press contacts: Marijke van Hooren, Phillips Electronics, (408) 617-4608, marijke.van.hooren@philips.com or Marty Gordon, Philips Electronics, +31 20 59 77 912, marty.gordon@na.km.philips.com

 

"SAGEM is happy to have adapted Microsoft Windows® CE software to its mobile phones equipment. With Microsoft TV, we will be able to meet further the innovative and demanding needs in the field of digital TV devices."

Press contact: Philippe Cadoret, Director of Communications, SAGEM SA, +33 1 40 70 69 65, philippe.cadoret@sagem.com

 

"Samsung will adopt Microsoft TV to build a wide range of next generation digital cable, terrestrial and satellite devices working with a number of chipset manufacturers and several CPU vendors to address various customer demands."

- Dr. In Ryu

Vice President

Samsung Electronics Company Ltd.

Press contact: C.K. Lee, 82 2 7516793, cklee@swgate.sec.samsung.co.kr

 

 

"Scientific-Atlanta has delivered an open-standards, IP network that enables us to offer our customers choices in digital interactive software. Microsoft's commitment to develop Microsoft TV and Microsoft TVPAK will provide our customers with an option for launching applications to their subscribers. We are working with Microsoft to design Scientific-Atlanta's Explorer 6000 set-top to support Microsoft TV as a choice for cable operators deploying interactive TV applications."

- Michael P. Harney

Corporate Vice President and General Manager

Digital Subscriber Networks

Scientific-Atlanta

Press contact: Kerri Dimkie, (770) 236-6306, kerri.dimke@sciatl.com

 

"Sharp Corp. believes that Microsoft TV will be the best solution to create new digital information appliances, and we could deploy new products quickly."

- Shintaro Hasimoto

Corporate Director

Sharp Corp.

Press contact: Takao Konishi, 81-743-65-4607, konishi@cmn.mkhar.sharp.jp

"As one of the original WebTV licensees, Sony has been providing set-top boxes developed with WebTV software. Sony will incorporate Microsoft TVPAK into the WebTV platform to enhance the capabilities of WebTV services in the United States."

- Gary Myer

President

Digital Media of America

Sony Electronics Inc. (for WebTV set-top boxes)

Press contact: Mack Araki, (408) 955-5673, arakim@ccmail.sel.sony.com

 

"As an early adopter of Microsoft technology for TV-centric services, Stellar One is excited about leveraging its unique position as the only switched broadband member of ATVEF to accelerate the adoption of Microsoft's vision of personal television. Historically, interactivity and the television has been based on a broadcast model. The combination of Microsoft TV and Stellar One's technology extends the power of interactive television to switched broadband network owners as well."

- Gordon Lewandowski

Vice President

Business Development

Stellar One

Press contact: Dennis Sullivan, (425) 497-3075, dennis.sullivan@stellar.com

 

"Our experience with set-top box business has indicated that we need a new software platform to meet the challenges from the market regarding the box features. The set-top box must support a wide-spectrum of applications, ranging from Internet to video, phone modem to cable modem access, pay-per-view to video-on-demand, and then basic box to high-end 3-D game support, just to name a few. We need strong partners to achieve this goal. Besides, there are integration issues in that content and service providers must create compatible products for an integral solution to drive up the market to an economical scale. Microsoft TV delivers a well-structured, standards-based application layer that facilitates in this all-party integration effort. We are very encouraged by this reality."

- Wen Lin

Executive Vice President

Tatung Global 3C Business Group

Tatung Co.

Press contact: David Chiu, (408) 383-0988, ext. 344, davidtat@tsti.com

 

"Microsoft TV provides Thomson with key enabling technology, in order to add new features, and functionality, as part of our overall interactive TV strategy."

- Enrique Rodriguez

Vice President

Multimedia and Services Research and Development

Thomson Multimedia

Press contact: Dave Arland, (317) 587-4450, ArlandD@tce.com

 

"We expect that the Internet Terminal and the Internet Receiver based on Microsoft TVPAK will play an important role in opening the new Cyber Space. They offer solutions best suitable for such applications as VoIP, VOD, home automation, telemetry and security, by making the best use of broadband communications through xDSL or cable modem. TriGem's set-top solutions will be launched into the market in the fourth quarter of this year and, in connection with high-speed communication networks, are expected to play a role of neo-users' hands and feet in Virtual Space."

- Dr. Jae You

Vice President

TriGem Computer, Inc.

Press contact: Namkoo Lee, 82-2-3774-4382 , nklee@trigem.co.kr or Sukwon Choi, 82-2-3774-4370, swchoi@trigem.co.kr

 

"As a leading innovator of Internet appliances, Vestel is looking forward to working with Microsoft to enable our highly flexible Interactive Video Platform to meet the rapidly increasing demand for set-top boxes in the consumer market. By supporting Microsoft TV, Vestel will join with Microsoft to unite industry-leading content providers and will work with Microsoft to ensure standards compliance in the development of this new medium."

- S. Sahin Tulga

President and CEO

Vestel USA Inc.

 

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