Feeds

Microsoft goes back-to-basics on cable TV

Revised set-top box OS

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Microsoft Corp is going back to basics to revive its failing interactive TV (iTV) strategy, with an entry-level set-top-box operating system built using its latest programming language, C Sharp,

Gavin Clarke writes

.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft next week plans to launch a version of its Windows CE-based operating system for Motorola Inc's low-end DCT 2000 iTV unit. So far, Microsoft has targeted Motorola's fuller featured DCT 5000 unit.

An indusry source told Computerwire Microsoft's new operating system will be built using C Sharp, the Java-like programming language launched in February under its .NET strategy.

A Microsoft spokesperson refused to comment on what it called "rumor and speculation" but conceded an iTV announcement is planned for 6 May. The announcement will take place during the cable TV industry's Cable 2002 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A low-end operating system is a major re-assessment of Microsoft's iTV strategy. The company has targeted development on Schaumberg, Illinois-based Motorola's DCT 5000. That unit is capable of e-commerce, streaming media, e-mail, telephony, home networking, internet browsing and video on demand. Motorola's DCT 2000 is less featured but more popular, according to Motorola, and favored by many cable operators.

Microsoft's developments have been plagued by problems. The company cited difficulty in optimizing its software to the hardware although changing demands and uncertainty over which features to include is also thought to have played a part.

The result is a string of delayed rollouts with cable companies worldwide. These include a contract for 30,000 devices with Europe's largest cable provider United Pan-Europe Communications BV (UPC), 7.5 million boxes and an optional 2.5 million devices with AT&T, and a contract with Charter Communications Inc - America's fourth largest cable TV provider - delayed by at least six months in March.

Microsoft lists 10 customers worldwide for its set-top-box software and services. So far, it has achieved deployment for just three - TAK SAS in France, TV Cabo in Portugal and UltimateTV/DirecTV Inc in the US on Thompson, Octal and Sony set-top-boxes respectively. A spokesperson said it does not release subscriber numbers.

A new low-end operating system could potentially revive Microsoft's fortunes. However, the company must cover much lost ground in its battle against rivals like San Carlos, California-based Liberate Technologies Inc. David Limp, Liberate chief strategy officer, said: "[Microsoft] is putting their thumb in the dyke for now."

© ComputerWire.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?