Following years-long sluggishness, Microsoft TV 's foray into the world of digital cable is picking up some steam, particularly in Latin America.

There, Microsoft TV is scoring deployments and trials for a range of products, including its new interactive program guide and its "Foundation Edition" and "Advanced" iTV platforms.

For starters, Cablevision Mexico has commercially launched the Microsoft TV IPG following a conversion process that took less than 30 days. The MSO, which plans to offer the more advanced Foundation platform sometime in 2004, currently offers the IPG to about 70,000 digital subscribers on the Motorola Broadband-built DCT-2000 box. Cablevision Mexico expects to extend that total to 450,000 over the next 12 months or so, said Microsoft TV Marketing Manager Laura Norman.

Meanwhile, Megacable, Mexico's largest MSO, and Cablevision Monterrey plan to deploy the Microsoft TV IPG and Microsoft TV Advanced service sometime this summer. Cablevision Monterrey will offer the IPG on the DCT1700 and Advanced on Motorola's thick-client DCT5000. Megacable will put the IPG on the DCT1000 and Advanced on the DCT5000.

Of those three MSOs, a total of 725,000 cable subs are anticipated to use Microsoft TV-powered services by the end of 2004, Norman said.

In other iTV developments in the region, PCTV, a cable MSO consortium that serves nearly 2 million customers, will offer the Microsoft TV IPG and Advanced platform sometime this year. Cabletica, an MSO based in Costa Rica, has also agreed to deploy the Microsoft IPG.

Microsoft TV, following a prolonged drought, is also starting to pick up some business in the U.S. Comcast Corp. recently agreed to trial Microsoft's IPG and Foundation platform. Time Warner Cable has also signed on to test the Microsoft guide this fall in Beaumont, Texas.