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Comcast and Microsoft to deploy set-top video recorders

Microsoft and Comcast will begin deploying set-top boxes powered by Microsoft software starting this week. It’s the first large-scale commercial deployment of Microsoft TV software in the United States.

The new deal will offer digital video recording (DVR) capabilities to pause, record and store television shows and movies to one million Comcast subscribers in Washington beginning today.

The deal is a milestone for Microsoft, which has been trying to get its software widely deployed in the television and cable industries for years with little success, despite billions invested in cable companies during the 1990s, Reuters reported.

The new offering from Comcast is targeted toward DIRECTV’s satellite-based digital video recorder, which is based on Tivo's DVR system. The system is also sold separately from cable- or satellite-based subscription services.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although the two companies said in May that the deal was for Comcast to use Microsoft’s software for set-top boxes for up to five million users.

Microsoft’s software, called Microsoft TV Foundation Edition 1.7, allows users to record TV programs, bring up video content on demand and also support high-definition television.

Microsoft wants to replace Gemstar-TV Guide International’s software that runs in many of Comcast’s set-top boxes built by Motorola.

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