Comcast Deploying ‘Microsoft TV’ in Wash.

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Comcast Corp. said Monday that it will deploy Microsoft Corp.’s “Microsoft TV Foundation Edition” software and interactive program guide to 1 million digital subscribers in Washington state.

The MSO had been testing the set-top software for several months.

Subscribers who order dual-tuner digital-video recorders will get set-tops with the software beginning Nov. 15. In December, Comcast’s Washington systems will give TV Foundation to all subscribers who order HDTV set-tops, and by the end of the first quarter, all digital-cable customers will get the software via downloads to their set-tops, Comcast and Microsoft officials told reporters Monday.

Microsoft cut a license deal with Comcast in May that would allow the MSO to deploy TV Foundation to 5 million set-tops, but Comcast hasn’t committed to using Microsoft’s software anywhere outside of Washington.

Comcast is also developing its own IPGs through a joint venture with Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.

In addition to a new IPG, Comcast customers in Washington with TV Foundation will be able to play basic games and access interactive news, sports and weather content.

Comcast’s rollout in Washington marks Microsoft’s first big domestic launch for TV Foundation.

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