Microsoft joins forces with Telefónica to redefine the future of TV

15 Nov 2012

Microsoft and Telefónica Digital have signed a multi-year strategic agreement to create a new Global Video Platform (GVP) combining IPTV with next-generation consumer devices.

The new GVP will make use of the Microsoft Mediaroom platform and Telefónica anticipates the first deployment of TV services based on the GVP to a number of operating businesses in the coming years.

Earlier today, Telefónica’s Irish subsidiary was one of the recipients of 4G spectrum licences.

The GVP, and its use of Mediaroom, will enable Telefónica to deliver to consumers high-performance, differentiated and feature-rich TV services over both its managed high-speed broadband networks, as well as “over-the-top” non-managed broadband networks. It provides a range of advanced features to TV subscribers, including time-shifting and multiscreen among others, enabling Telefónica to take advantage of its multidevice capabilities.

“Video is a fast-growing market, and we already play a leading role in delivering pay TV services to customers in Europe and Latin America,” said Vivek Dev, director of Digital Services, Telefónica Digital.

“This new platform allows us to reflect the deep and rapid changes happening in this market. It offers the ease and convenience of a global, convergent platform while maintaining flexibility over content for our local businesses. Most important, it allows us to meet customer demands for access to video content on an ever-expanding range of devices,” Dev said.

These services can be enjoyed by consumers on a range of devices inside and outside the home, including set-top boxes, Xbox 360, tablets and smartphones.

Next-generation TV

Because the Mediaroom platform includes key technologies, such as Microsoft PlayReady, Internet Information Services Smooth Streaming and Microsoft Silverlight, the delivery of TV services across these various networks and to multiple screen types can all be done via one common technology infrastructure. This is expected to result in significant efficiencies for Telefónica in time to market, cost of delivery and overall scale.

“This new agreement focused on Telefónica’s GVP further extends our alliance in the world of TV and video entertainment to a range of screens throughout the home and on the go, and the benefits will be enjoyed by many millions of people globally,” said Tom Gibbons, vice-president of Microsoft’s Operator TV business. “Through its use of IP-based broadband networks and the Microsoft Mediaroom platform, Telefónica’s next-generation TV services are poised to delight and entertain millions of consumers across their markets in Europe and Latin America.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years