Verizon Taps ‘Microsoft TV’

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Microsoft Corp. announced Friday that Verizon Communications will use a version of its “Microsoft TV” software product, including a Microsoft interactive programming guide, for the video package on its “FiOS” fiber-to-the-home buildout.

Although the deal is nonexclusive, Microsoft’s software is expected to be deployed widely once Verizon launches video services -- including HDTV, video-on-demand and digital-video recorders -- later this year.

Microsoft said the software includes traditional elements of Microsoft TV and “Foundation Edition,” but with specialized Internet-protocol components based on Verizon's needs.

It will run on a QAM-based (quadrature amplitude modulation), MPEG-2 (Moving Picture Expert Group) architecture.

Microsoft added that it has already begun integration with Verizon and its set-top supplier, Motorola Inc. Microsoft, of course, has already done much of the base integration work with Motorola for its cable-related products.

This marks the third major telco deal for Microsoft. It has a trial deal with BellSouth Corp. for its IPTV product and a $400 million deal, including deployments, for the same IPTV product with SBC Communications Inc.

"With FiOS TV, Verizon will be able to offer its customers more channels, more choices and great value," said Bob Ingalls, president of Verizon's Retail Markets Group, in a prepared statement, adding that the platform "gives us virtually unlimited potential to evolve our interactive services into the most seamlessly integrated offering in the industry."

The companies said the software will allow Verizon to offer personalized IPGs and advanced search and record functions, as well as to incorporate IP content and integrate content from other consumer devices.

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