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 Post subject: Microsoft going into Internet TV
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:42 am 
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Microsoft is expected to announce today that it will soon bring television over the Internet, or IPTV, to thousands of Germans in a partnership with Deutsche Telekom, Germany's largest phone company.


Microsoft will provide software that will run on Deutsche Telekom set-top boxes for the company's TV services, which are expected to be available by midyear in 10 German cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich. IPTV stands for Internet Protocol TV.

Several companies in the United States are angling for a share of the IPTV market, which is still in its infancy. Microsoft's service could provide a glimpse into what the future of television-watching may be. The company is providing television-related software for phone companies in the United States, including AT&T and Verizon, which are both conducting trials of TV services in a handful of U.S. cities.

``Today's announcement represents Microsoft's largest IPTV agreement in Europe to date and a very significant milestone in our longstanding relationship with Deutsche Telekom,'' said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. ``Working together, Microsoft and Deutsche Telekom will help create a revolution in TV entertainment for consumers across Germany.''

TV programming will come into homes through the customers' DSL Internet connections at download speeds of up to 50 megabits per second, roughly 30 times faster than DSL connections in the United States. Unlike in the United States, many European phone networks, including Deutsche Telekom, have installed advanced technology that allows faster speeds.

Customers will be able to receive regular television programs through the service as well as high-definition programs, video on demand and digital video recording.

Microsoft is not alone in its ambition to bring video and other Internet-associated services, such as music downloads, to people's living rooms. Cisco Systems, with its recent $6.9 billion acquisition of cable set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta, is also making a ``digital living room'' play. And Intel's Viiv campaign seeks to market and develop home-entertainment devices powered by the company's microchips.

Microsoft would not release information about how much Deutsche Telekom's television services would cost German consumers.

Television-over-Internet services in Europe are expected to reach 16.7 million customers by 2010, according to Gartner research.

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