Back in March, Microsoft submitted a novel device to the FCC which would utilize the unused “white spaces” in the US TV spectrum (which vary from city to city) for portable personal digital communications. Last week, the FCC’s assessment came in and it wasn’t a pretty sight because the prototype failed to correctly detect when frequencies were in use and would thereby cause interference. This week, more details came out it and it was revealed that Microsoft’s prototype was defective:
Companies that provide television over internet protocol technology joined forces on Monday to set a single global standard, so that all systems would work together.
The Open IPTV Forum is backed by companies including Ericsson, Matsushita’s Panasonic, Philips, Samsung Electronics, Siemens, Sony, AT&T, Telecom Italia and France Telecom.
Not on the starting list are Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft, the market leaders and alliance partners in IPTV networks and software.
Filmmakers and TV production companies were not on the list either, but the forum said everyone could join.
The nine founding companies said they want results fast and will hammer out technology requirements by September and a first set of technology specifications by year-end.
Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent are busy suing each other over patents of course, but that doesn’t seem to keep them from forging ahead in IPTV.
Speaking of the patent lawsuits, I see that Microsoft has now got the U.S. International Trade Commission on Alcatel-Lucent’s back. You’d think that such great pals could work out a deal.
The Bill Gates (et al.) keynote is still going on as I write this, but the press releases are out. The overview in Microsoft Showcases Windows Innovations to Help Customers Navigate Through the Digital “World of More” is frankly rather clearer than the rushed presentation (narrative version here). Skipping to the new news:
DIRECTV. Microsoft and DIRECTV Inc. will announce a multiyear agreement that will enable the flow of DIRECTV digital content between Windows-based PCs, DIRECTV’s digital set-top boxes, PlaysForSure™ devices and the Xbox 360 system. Consumers will also be able to use a Media Center PC to enjoy high-definition DIRECTV content.
Sky Networks. Microsoft and British Sky Broadcasting (Sky), the leading pay-TV provider in the U.K. and Ireland, today announced an agreement to create a Media Center PC version of Sky’s forthcoming broadband content service, Sky by broadband. The core service will allow millions of Sky TV customers to access video content via the PC, with hundreds of movies to download and hundreds of sports clips to stream.
URGE music service. MTV Networks’ forthcoming digital music service, URGE, will be deeply integrated into Windows Media Player 11 and offer more than 2 million songs from the major labels and thousands of independents, as well as exclusive MTV Networks programming and original content. URGE will also be available through Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP.
URGE has it’s own press release, but the bottom line is that it offers a subscription service as well as individual item purchases.
For Media Center PC’s there are a variety of content deals with Comedy Central’s MotherLoad, mtvU, Showtime Interactive, Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s GameTap, and VH1 VSPOT. There are also some new Windows Live services for Media Center:
Live.com TV gadgets. Live.com provides the ideal location for services that make it easier to find and manage TV-related experiences across multiple devices. Customers can easily see TV programs scheduled for recording along with best bets. These services provide a window into one’s Media Center PC from almost anywhere in the world.
Live.com TV recommendations. Live.com enables customers to easily rate shows they’ve watched on their TV via their Media Center PC. As users rate more shows, they get better, more personalized TV recommendations, which they can share with their community.
Finally, there were the gadgets:
Toshiba America Inc., Tatung Co. and LG Electronics have signed up to venture into the difficult territory of Portable Media Centers albeit with new media services like Starz.
Update: Peter Moore came on at the end with a rapid fire list of Xbox 360 facts and figures, but the big one is that they expect to ship up to 5.5 million units by June and have added a 3rd manufacturer to increase supply.
I guess they just couldn’t wait for Bill Gates’ keynote at CES:
Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV will expand its support for VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) technology in new partnerships with eBay’s Skype division and Microsoft, and unveil new televisions designed to ease the strain of watching an exciting movie on a sexy $4,000 television, executives said during a press conference Wednesday at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show.
Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will provide more details about the new VOIP partnership between Philips and Microsoft later this evening in a keynote address kicking off CES, said Rudy Provoost, chief executive officer of Philips Consumer Electronics, a division of the parent company. He did not provide many details but said the companies will announce a VOIP product that would incorporate Microsoft’s MSN portal and its MSN Messenger instant-messaging software.