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Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Next-Generation Set-Top Platforms Supporting Microsoft TV IPTV Edition Enable Advanced New Functionalities


Microsoft announced that advanced system-on-a-chip (SoC) set-tops, which will greatly enhance the Internet Protocol television (IPTV) user experience, are now available to support Microsoft IPTV Edition software platform

An integral part of the IPTV ecosystem, SoC set-tops will enable service providers to begin delivering high-definition TV (HDTV), digital video recording (DVR) and picture-in-picture functionalities as well as other advanced features in the future, enhancing consumers' television-viewing experience.

This new generation of SoC-based, HD-capable, IPTV-ready receivers makes it easier for service providers to deploy IPTV Edition more broadly, quickly and cost-efficiently while supporting exciting new TV services. The availability of these devices illustrates the continued innovation of Microsoft and its IPTV Edition ecosystem partners in the telecommunications and digital television industries.

"The advent of system-on-a-chip set-tops is a key milestone for the IPTV industry," said Christine Heckart, general manager of marketing for the Microsoft TV Division at Microsoft. "As our service provider customers are beginning worldwide deployments of IPTV Edition, and set-top partners are unveiling these advanced devices, consumers will be able to experience television in a new, exciting way. This milestone is a testament to the remarkable progress our IPTV ecosystem has made in just a few years, and it will pave the way for service providers to deliver richer TV services at a lower cost."

Cisco's proven history of IP innovation gives the company unmatched IP expertise and successful IPTV deployments, which it is able to share with its service provider partners. Cisco IP set-top models, which will be deployed by customers including AT&T, support experience-enhancing features such as high-definition TV, DVR, integrated home networking over coax and user-friendly displays. Models are available with appropriate connectors and features for markets around the globe. Cisco offers models that include silicon from both Sigma Designs Inc. and STMicroelectronics.

Motorola's heritage of invention for the connected home has resulted in over 48 million video entertainment devices being shipped to service providers worldwide. The company's VIP series of SoC-based set-tops are engineered to meet the needs of service providers deploying the Microsoft IPTV Edition system. These solutions seamlessly bring the advanced IP services into any room in the house, including on-demand services, DVR and support for HDTV codecs, as well as forthcoming IPTV Edition features such as multiroom streaming and home media networking. Motorola VIP series set-tops are currently shipping in volume to leading providers worldwide, and the company has announced that AT&T will be the first service provider to commercially deploy these products.

Philips has introduced a hybrid IPTV-DTT set-top box supporting Microsoft IPTV Edition with HDTV and DVR functionality based on the Sigma Designs 8634 chipset. This product will be launched by BT plc this fall.

Tatung will introduce its STB2000 series SoC-enabled set-top boxes based on the Sigma Designs 8634 chipset later this year. The new STB2300 model is an entry-level IP set-top box that not only supports two high-definition decoding engines for MPEG2, H.264 and VC-1, providing decoding flexibility, but also supports advanced features including HDTV, video on demand (VOD) and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI).

"System-on-a-chip set-top boxes are a major milestone for the IPTV ecosystem as they are a key enabler of some of the advanced IPTV features," said Vince Vittore, senior analyst for Broadband Access Technologies at Yankee Group Research Inc. "As the capabilities of these platforms increase, service providers will be able to focus on providing unique video services to consumers. In addition, the availability of SoC-based devices is a significant proof point of how the entire supply chain, from video solutions vendors to silicon manufacturers, is gearing up to support IPTV."


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