Charter Communications Inc. said Wednesday that it will deploy Microsoft
Corp.'s interactive-television software to 1 million subscribers over the next
The deal marks Microsoft's first commitment from a U.S. cable operator to
roll out its 'Microsoft TV' platform. AT&T Broadband has said it will
eventually deploy Microsoft TV, but the MSO still hasn't tested the product.
Charter said it will deploy Microsoft TV on Motorola Broadband Communications
Sector 'DCT-5000' advanced digital set-tops.
AT&T Broadband dropped plans to deploy interactive-TV services on the
DCT-5000 line in June, making Charter the first MSO to aggressively deploy them
on the advanced digital platform.
Charter's service will include content from CEO Paul Allen's Digeo company,
electronic mail, Internet access and on-demand news, weather, sports and
entertainment content. The MSO said it will also eventually add Wink
Communications Inc.'s interactive service, video-on-demand supplied by Diva
Systems Corp. and Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.'s TV Guide Interactive,
but it set no timeline for rolling out those services.
Microsoft senior vice president Jon DeVaan announced the Charter deal
Wednesday at a Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing
conference in Virginia.
The deal is a big boost for Microsoft, which has seen competitor Liberate
Technologies take the lead in the U.S. market with MSO middleware deals.
Charter has a smaller agreement with Liberate to deploy the company's
middleware to 300,000 set-tops.