» Microsoft spiffs up Mediaroom developers’ kit
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Microsoft spiffs up Mediaroom developers’ kit
By Carol Wilson

May 22, 2008 3:17 PM

Microsoft this week released a beta version of its Microsoft Mediaroom Presentation Framework to the 150 software developers that are part of the Microsoft program, allowing them to now directly import Web Services content into IPTV applications.

The Microsoft Mediaroom Presentation Framework will enable developers to more rapidly create new applications and services for the IPTV product, which will enable telecom service providers to differentiate their video offerings from cable and satellite.

In the past, creating interactive TV applications required special downloads and processes specific to the set-top boxes and TV sets, said Shari Barnett, director of media services for Microsoft TV. “This requires none of that – it pulls from existing Web Services data feeds and video and then, because of that, it updates itself as the Web site is updated.”

Microsoft used an earlier version of this for its Consumer Electronics Show demo earlier this year. That version showed how a consumer watching CNN could simultaneously pull in information from CNN.com or even watch video from the Web site that goes into greater depth than the cable news network.

Another example, Barnett said, is an application developed by Turner and ES3 that starts with the live broadcast of a NASCAR race but allows consumers to use their remote controls to pull from a menu of other options including more detailed information on drivers and also the opportunity to simultaneously view the car cam of a specific driver.

“It’s all real time, and it’s in sync with the broadcast, so you get to see the race and see at the same time from that driver’s point of view,” Barnett said.

The goal of the new toolkit, the final version of which will be available this year, is to speed applications on Mediaroom, increasing its appeal and enabling service providers to develop more differentiated services and more revenue potential. Service providers themselves are also developing applications, Barnett said.

“We are seeing these services being highly differentiated,” she said. “Each company is in its own competitive market and is responding differently.”

The SDK is “just one of the elements of the application development program,” Barnett added. “We’ll have professional support services you can buy if you are a developer, training courses you can take, a personal server, which is like a mini head-end using one or two PCS for testing application – everything you would need.”

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