Microsoft took the wraps off the next major version of its IPTV software -- Mediaroom 2.0 -- which will let service providers deliver TV services to a broad range of devices, including set-tops, Windows 7 PCs, Macs, Xbox 360 game consoles and, in the future, mobile phones.
In addition, while Mediaroom had previously been geared for delivery over IP networks with managed quality of service, version 2.0 will let service providers deliver video-on-demand over IP networks of varying bandwidths by integrating Microsoft's Internet Information Services Smooth Streaming and Silverlight technology.
In the U.S., AT&T is the biggest customer for Mediaroom with its U-verse TV service, which last month surpassed 2 million subscribers.
Mediaroom 2.0 is scheduled to be available for operators to start testing beginning in February. Microsoft made the announcement at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show here.
"Our strategy with Mediaroom is to combine the power of client software and cloud-based services to greatly enhance the way consumers experience digital entertainment," said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president for Microsoft's TV, video and music business unit. "We want to make it easier for consumers to find and discover great content, to watch, listen and engage in new ways, and to do so anywhere and on any screen."
Mediaroom 2.0 support for the Windows Media Center in Windows 7 means operators can now deliver their premium TV services, including live HD TV, DVR and on-demand programming, to virtually any Windows 7-based PC with no additional hardware tuner required, according to Microsoft. The 2.0 platform will also provide the capability to start watching a show on one screen and finish watching it on another.
Mediaroom 2.0 also adds the ability to integrate third-party content from Internet TV partners and other Internet-based content sources, to let subscribers search all the content in one interface, as well as support for playback of content protected using Microsoft's PlayReady content access and protection technology.