Microsoft Launches Version 2.0 of its Mediaroom IPTV Platform

--Billed as Delivering More Content to More Screens, Using a Cloud-Based Infrastructure

Microsoft on Wednesday launched version 2.0 of its Mediaroom IPTV platform, billing it as "enabl[ing] TV service operators to provide their TV services to more subscribers than ever before, delivering more content to more screens than the previous version of Mediaroom--both inside and outside the home."

According to Microsoft, Mediaroom 2.0 will be available for operators to start testing next month. It can be deployed by operators "as their entertainment cloud," the company says, powering a complete TV service that includes cloud-based DVR, on-demand features, interactive TV applications, and access both to operator-hosted content and externally hosted content such as Internet TV. In addition, Microsoft claims, it allows operators to offer services on multiple screens, including the TV, Windows Media Center, Web browsers (for Windows-based PC's and Macs), Xbox 360 and certain smartphones. The company also claims that Mediaroom 2.0 will enable operators to offer their existing VOD service to their entire broadband customer base using their existing set-top inventory, thereby expanding their service footprint beyond their IPTV network: the same on-demand service can be enjoyed on Windows 7-based PC's using Windows Media Center, the company says, as well as on the Xbox 360. In addition, Microsoft says, service providers can offer subscribers access to their VOD programming remotely, using a range of Web browsers running on Windows PC's and Macs and--in the near future--on compatible smartphones.

Mediaroom is also billed as adding support for Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming (adapts the video stream to the user's network connection) for accessing and delivering on-demand content; and as providing support for Microsoft PlayReady in order to preserve 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," Enrique Rodriguez, corporate VP of Microsoft's TV, Video and Music business, said in a prepared 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." More detail--including a side-by-side comparison of Mediaroom 1 and 2.0--is available here.

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