Microsoft has released details of its client and server software for the TV industry which it claims will give consumers a richer viewing experience.
"Microsoft's TV Platform Adaptation Kit (TVPAK) will provide the TV environment with the best of the standards world together with a scaleable, extensible operating system for next generation developments," explained Jim Beveridge, European business development manager for Microsoft from a teleconference in Montreux, Switzerland today.
Meanwhile, MS Server has been developed to enable TV networks to operate and manage enhanced commercial grade TV services. It is built on Windows 2000 server, MS Back Office family and WebTV technology. It has been designed to fit in with a network operator's existing systems for billing, customer service, video on demand and other specialised applications.
Beveridge stressed that TVPAK has nothing to do with the WebTV service which is being trialled in the UK by BT and in Germany by Deutsche Telekom. "We have no announcement to make on the WebTV service in Europe today," he said.
Beveridge denied that Microsoft is coming to the interactive TV party late in the day, with many networks already having interactive strategies in place. "What we are seeing today is the beginning, it is evolution," he said.
More than 30 companies have started to work with TVPAK, including network operators, hardware manufacturers, content developers, system integrators, network vendors and software developers. The list includes AT&T, Fujitsu, Matsushita, Hitachi, Intel, Motorola, General Instrument and Sony Electronics for WebTV set-top boxes.
Some OEMs will start trialing systems in the fourth quarter of this year. Systems will go live in the first half of next year, Microsoft said.
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