Microsoft IPTV platform powers four million set-top boxes

11 Nov 2008

Subscribers to the Microsoft Mediaroom platform have more than doubled in less than a year, reaching over two million subscriber homes and powering services on nearly four million set-top boxes worldwide.

In the past quarter alone, Mediaroom customers have connected 500,000 new subscribers across the globe, the company said last night.

In related news, Microsoft Corp announced a search distribution deal with Sun Microsystems to offer the MSN Toolbar, powered by Microsoft Live Search, to US-based Internet Explorer (IE) users when they download the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Through this agreement, IE users downloading Sun’s JRE will have the option to download the MSN Toolbar and have one-click access to Live Search features, as well as news, entertainment, sports and more from the MSN network and direct access to Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger.

In terms of IPTV, the company said the accelerated growth rate comes as customers begin to maximise the functionality of the Mediaroom platform to differentiate their service offering with features such as personalised weather and sports information, the freedom to play back standard-definition and high-definition recorded programmes on any connected TV in the home, or the ability to set the digital video recorder (DVR) remotely via a PC or mobile device.

The growing momentum and differentiation of Mediaroom-based services signals consumer demand for TV experiences beyond traditional cable and satellite offerings,” said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice-presidentof the Connected TV Division for Microsoft.

While the technology can be intricate, the formula is simple — deliver quality content experiences that engage viewers in new, more impactful and easy-to-use ways. Powerful software plus a two-way, connected environment are now fundamental components to success in the new era of TV services.”

AT&T is one of Microsoft’s fastest-growing Mediaroom customers with 781,000 AT&T U-verse subscribers as of the end of the third quarter. In September, it launched AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR using Mediaroom DVR Anywhere technology, and has plans to roll out the service to its entire U-verse footprint by the end of the year.

AT&T U-verse TV delivers a new and exciting consumer experience that gives AT&T the edge to compete and grow market share in a highly competitive TV market,” said GW Shaw, AT&T executive director of U-verse marketing.

Take Total Home DVR, for example. Because of our flexible software platform, we were able to download this powerful new feature directly to consumers’ homes overnight and to further differentiate versuscable,” Shaw added.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the Mediaroom platform in operation

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