Microsoft Enhances the Digital Cable Experience and Names 2009 Windows Media Center...

Wed Sep 9, 2009 8:00pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Microsoft Enhances the Digital Cable Experience and Names 2009 Windows Media
Center Ultimate Install Winner
Customers get new capabilities, more options, and a better digital cable
experience in Windows Media Center.

ATLANTA, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today at CEDIA EXPO 2009, Microsoft
Corp. discussed key Windows Media Center features for Windows 7 and announced
a series of initiatives that enhance the digital cable experience in Windows
Media Center. With the addition of native support for additional international
broadcast TV standards, including QAM and ATSC, there will now be support for
switched digital video (SDV), a new tool that will make it possible for end
customers to add a digital cable tuner with CableCARD to their PC, and for
existing digital cable tuner with CableCARD customers to enjoy more
portability for digital cable TV that is marked as "copy freely" (CF). In
addition, Microsoft and the Media Center Integrator Alliance (MCIA) announced
the winner of the 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest,
showcasing the many ways Windows Media Center can be used in a whole-home
solution.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO)

"We're continuing to work on creating opportunities for partners that will
enable great entertainment experiences on the PC," said Craig Eisler,
corporate vice president of entertainment client software for the TV, Video &
Music Business at Microsoft. "Consumers understand that having access to
content via the PC is critical when it comes to entertainment experiences, and
with these announcements, we're underscoring our broader commitment to deliver
a rich experience with Windows Media Center."

Switched Digital Video (SDV) Support Added for Windows Media Center
In response to customer requests and cable providers' deployment of SDV,
Microsoft now supports SDV in Windows Media Center for Windows 7. In
conjunction with a device known as a tuning adapter, supplied by a customer's
cable provider, Windows Media Center and a digital cable tuner with CableCARD
will be able to tune to SDV channels. Customers can enjoy SDV broadcasts on
PCs running Windows Media Center in Windows 7 and a digital cable tuner with
CableCARD.

End Customers Can Now Add Digital Cable Tuners With CableCARD to Their PCs
Microsoft and CableLabs announced that customers will now be able to add
digital cable tuners with CableCARD to a Windows 7-based PC with Windows Media
Center. A new tool will be provided by Microsoft that assesses the PC's
ability to support the solution. This tool will analyze the customer's PC and
enable digital cable support if the PC meets requirements, opening digital
cable options to Windows Media Center customers across the country. Microsoft
also announced that, with Windows 7, it has increased the number of TV tuners
that can be connected to the PC from two to four per tuner type, thereby
allowing customers to simultaneously record or watch as many as four digital
cable TV channels.

"We are excited that digital cable customers will now be able to take
advantage of this new opportunity to bring great cable TV programming to the
PC," said So Vang, vice president of OpenCable at CableLabs. "We are dedicated
to helping customers get the most from their cable service, and this will be a
great win for both the customer and the cable operators."

Digital Cable Customers Can Now Enjoy More TV Portability in Windows Media
Center
Microsoft and CableLabs also announced that they worked together to enable
digital cable tuner with CableCARD customers to enjoy more portability for
digital cable TV that is marked as "copy freely" (CF). Customers will be able
to play CF-marked digital cable recordings, such as those from local channels,
on other PCs, devices and portable media.

Windows Media Center Features in Windows 7 Highlighted
Using new Windows 7 features such as Windows Touch, HomeGroup, Remote Media
Streaming and PlayTo, sharing recorded TV, videos, music and pictures
throughout the home, while on the road and to remote locations has never been
easier. There is also support for the AVCHD format. This allows customers to
view HD video from many popular HD video cameras.

In addition, support for the international broadcast TV standards that was
released with the Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008 will also be included in
Windows Media Center in Windows 7. This includes native support for both ATSC
and QAM, the ability to remap channels, and support for subchannels.

New Firmware for ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuners
In conjunction with the Microsoft and CableLabs announcements, Advanced Micro
Devices Inc. (AMD) will be providing a new firmware update that is available
to all ATI TV Wonder digital cable tuners being used with Windows 7 and
Windows Vista. This firmware update will allow existing digital cable tuner
with CableCARD customers to enjoy more portability for digital cable TV marked
as CF. Customers will be able to play CF-marked digital cable recordings, such
as those from local channels, on other PCs, devices, and portable media. In
addition, the firmware will contain support for SDV. When installed on a
Windows 7-based PC with a digital cable tuner with CableCARD and a tuning
adapter from a cable provider, it enables access to switched digital channels
in locations where SDV has been deployed.

2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest Winner Announced
Microsoft, in collaboration with the Media Center Integrator Alliance (MCIA),
announced the winner of the 2009 Windows Media Center Ultimate Install
Contest. The winning installation was submitted by Dustin Anderson, general
manager at Vision Audio in Lubbock, Texas, who built a system with Windows
Media Center at the core of the entertainment experience in an extensive
whole-home installation for a customer in Odessa, Texas. The installation
integrates six Windows Media Center-based servers, one Windows Home Server,
five dedicated theater-style rooms, 12 media racks, 98 speakers, and 30 zones
of distributed audio. The home includes products from key MCIA member
companies such as Autonomic Controls Inc., Crestron Electronics Inc. and
Niveus Media Inc.

The Windows Media Center Ultimate Install Contest, now in its third year,
encourages integrators to show off their talents by presenting their most
unique and creative installations that leverage Windows Media Center
technologies. Vision Audio's integration of the family's music, movies, videos
and pictures, as well as the integration of Windows Media Center and Windows
Home Server with the Crestron home automation system, and the large scope of
the installation set it apart as the winner for 2009.

"We're thrilled to receive this recognition from Microsoft and the MCIA. The
Windows Media Center platform has enabled us to be on the cutting edge of
technology, which has provided us with critical business advantages during the
economic downturn," Anderson said.

More information on the contest and images from the install can be found
online at http://www.microsoft.com/ultimateinstall.

Also on Display at CEDIA EXPO 2009
At the Microsoft booth at CEDIA EXPO 2009, Microsoft will show additional
hardware and software installations that enhance the digital cable experience.
Demonstrations include these:
    --  The new Zune HD portable media player using the Zune HD AV dock to
        display 720p content on an HDTV. The Zune HD and updated Zune PC
        software will launch on Sept. 15.
    --  A home server powered by Windows Home Server software. The upcoming
        Windows Home Server Power Pack 3, currently in beta testing, will add
        enhancements for Windows Media Center. Power Pack 3 features include
the
        option to move recorded TV content to the home server in a variety of
        resolutions, and the ability for users to see statistics about the
home
        server through Windows Media Center.

    --  A technology preview of the new Multi-Channel Cable TV Card from Ceton
        Corp., which enables PCs with Windows Media Center to play or record
        multiple live channels of premium HDTV at once, and stream live HD
        channels or recordings to multiple TV sets throughout the home, all
with
        a single CableCARD.



About CableLabs
Founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry, Cable Television
Laboratories is a non-profit research and development consortium that is
dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping
its cable operator members integrate those advancements into their business
objectives. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs
maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com;
www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org; www.opencable.com; and www.tru2way.com.

About the Media Center Integrator Alliance (MCIA)
The MCIA is an open and independent non-profit consortium formed to advance
and administer the support, promotion, and enrichment of the media center
ecosystem. Charter members of MCIA include AMD, Crestron, HP, Intel,
Life|ware, Microsoft Corp., and Niveus Media.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software,
services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full
potential.





SOURCE  Microsoft Corp.

Kristin Oke of Edelman, +1-206-268-2265, kristin.oke@edelman.com, for
Microsoft Corp.
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