Microsoft Enters Telco TV Market

Leveraging the compression capabilities of its Windows Media 9 standard, Microsoft has introduced Microsoft TV IPTV, an end to end system designed to deliver video over DSL.

Bell Canada and India's Reliance Intercom will work with Microsoft to develop a viable system by 2004. A prototype of the IPTV system will be demonstrated publicly for the first time starting this weekend at ITU Telecom World in Geneva, Switzerland.

Microsoft has been putting the pieces of the IPTV puzzle together since launching WM9 in 2002. Broadcast equipment vendors including Harmonic and Tandberg Television have agreed to build encoders for WM9. Other manufacturers onboard include Thomson, Intel, Juniper Networks and Pace Micro Technology.

According to Microsoft, its Windows Media 9 compression scheme has approximately three times the efficiency of MPEG-2 and twice that of MPEG-4, providing substantial bandwidth savings.

"Microsoft is well-positioned to bring the technology, partnerships and resources required to help the pay-TV industry take a major step forward toward the introduction of next-generation TV services over broadband IP networks," says Michelle Abraham of In-Stat/MDR.