After unveiling a new interactive program guide for "thin client" digital boxes at the 2002 National Cable Show last May, Microsoft Corp. said that it has secured its first launches for the new product. Microsoft said Uvision LLC and Willamette Broadband LLC, which serve a combined 20,000 cable subscribers just south of Portland, Ore., will roll out the Microsoft TV IPG in the first quarter of 2003. Although the launches aren't with top 10 U.S. MSOs, they do represent at least a starting point for Microsoft TV, which has struggled to penetrate the U.S. cable market with software designed for advanced digital set-tops. Analysts have viewed Microsoft TV's IPG as a springboard that could open the way for the company's more advanced set-top software.
At this month's Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft plans to show off version 1.5 of its IPG, which adds support for Spanish and Portuguese, noted Microsoft TV Director of Marketing Ed Graczyk. The new version will also support video-on-demand for the DCT-1200 and DCT-2000. To date, Microsoft's IPG has been integrated with SeaChange International's and Concurrent Computer Corp.'s VOD systems, Graczyk said. The Microsoft TV IPG, which received ACADIA validation from Motorola Broadband this summer, runs on widely deployed models such as the DCT-1000, DCT-1200 and DCT-2000.
In addition to its thin-client software, Microsoft TV is also developing platforms for a new breed of media centers that share resources and applications with smaller, less expensive extension modules.