Comcast Picks Microsoft To Stream 'TV Everywhere'

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Comcast has officially cut over its Xfinity TV authenticated online video service to Microsoft's Internet-streaming platform, which the operator's thePlatform subsidiary has integrated into its video-management system, replacing the adaptive streaming player from Move Networks.

The first iteration of Comcast's online-media player -- for TV Everywhere content available only to cable customers -- was powered by Move Networks, acquired earlier this year by EchoStar Technologies. The cable operator last fall disclosed its plans to phase out the Move Networks technology and migrate to Microsoft's Silverlight media streaming platform.

Earlier this week Comcast said it increased the on-demand content available through its Xfinity TV iPad app to 4,500 hours, up from 3,000 when it launched two months ago, but live TV on the tablets won't be available until later this year. It isn't clear at this point whether Comcast will use the Microsoft technology for the live streaming of programming; the companies declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the free content on Xfinity TV's website, mostly provided via Comcast's deal with Hulu, is made available in Adobe Flash format.

Comcast is the first company to use Microsoft PlayReady and IIS Smooth Streaming technology with thePlatform's mpx video management system.

"We're always looking at technologies that will help us deliver high-quality, premium video to a broad range of IP-connected devices," Charlie Herrin, Comcast Interactive Media senior vice president of product development and technology, said in a statement. "This new, integrated solution from Microsoft and thePlatform supports our ongoing efforts to deliver great entertainment experiences for our customers on all screens and devices."

Microsoft and thePlatform, through their joint development, offer an integrated solution to let operators and content providers deliver protected HD video for both in-home and remote viewing.

Microsoft's IIS Smooth Streaming provides dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP for live and on-demand content that adjusts video quality automatically based on a user's available bandwidth and other network conditions. ThePlatform also is using the software company's Transform Manager, a server-side transformation engine built into IIS Media Services that can encode once and simultaneously deliver it in multiple formats.

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