Comcast, Time Warner Cable to test Microsoft TV software
Microsoft TV chalked up two more points for its suite of set-top software, notching its first field trial commitment from Time Warner Cable, and its second with Comcast Corp.
Comcast has agreed to a "limited trial" of the Microsoft TV Interactive Program Guide (IPG) this fall in Seattle. Gemstar-TV Guide International is the market's incumbent provider of IPG technology.
It will mark Microsoft TV's second set-top software trial with Comcast. In June, Comcast said it agreed to test Microsoft's "Foundation Edition" platform this fall, also in Seattle.
The new Comcast trials are not directly linked to previous agreements between Microsoft TV and AT&T Broadband, said Ed Graczyk, Microsoft TV's director of marketing. Before merging with Comcast, AT&T Broadband had struck a deal for between 7.5 million to 10 million licenses for Microsoft TV's "Advanced" software, which is designed for thick-client digital set-tops.
"We continue to talk about how to restructure that [AT&T Broadband] agreement," Graczyk said. Microsoft invested $1 billion in Comcast back in 1997.
Separately, Time Warner Cable said it would test the Microsoft IPG in Beaumont, Texas, where the MSO serves about 100,000 subscribers. That TWC system is one of a very few that operates on the Motorola digital platform. In Beaumont, TWC's legacy IPG is provided by Pioneer Electronics (USA).
Microsoft TV is also working on versions of Foundation and the IPG for the Scientific-Atlanta platform, and privately showed off working versions of it to cable operators at the National Show in June, Graczyk said.