Subscription TV services, powered by Microsoft Mediaroom 2.0, will take viewers where they haven’t been before by extending TV experiences across multiple screens, including the PC, TV and mobile phone. The Mediaroom software supports whole-home digital video recording, on-demand capabilities, access to both operator-hosted content and Internet TV, and interactive applications. Mediaroom 2.0 combines client software with cloud-based services to provide viewers with access to a world of great content on the big flat screen in their living room, the PC in their office, and even the smartphone in their pocket.
The past few years have seen major innovations in the ways television content is distributed and consumed. Perhaps the biggest change is the widespread availability of mainstream television programming online. A growing number of consumers now use a PC as a secondary screen for watching TV, and in some cases a PC may be their only TV screen. In the process consumers are coming to expect more diverse access to their ever-growing collections of content. The Microsoft vision for the future of TV is taking advantage of this trend.
“Our strategy with Mediaroom is to combine the power of client software and cloud-based services to greatly enhance the way consumers experience digital entertainment,” says Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president for the TV, Video and Music Business at Microsoft. “We want to make it easier for consumers to find and discover great content, to watch, listen and engage in new ways, and to do so anywhere and on any screen. Mediaroom 2.0 is a key milestone in our strategy, providing the software platform to power operators’ service clouds to reach more screens, and more people, with more content than ever before.”
While the original version of Mediaroom enabled services to be viewed on TV set-top boxes and on Xbox 360 game consoles, Mediaroom 2.0 alleviates the need for operators to deploy redundant systems, allowing them to expand the reach of their television service to include Windows 7-based PCs via Windows Media Center, Web browsers on both Macs and Windows-based PCs and, in the future, compatible smartphones. Mediaroom 2.0 also gives TV service operators the ability to reach beyond their managed IPTV networks, extending their television services to their unmanaged broadband networks. As a result, operators have the ability to offer content from a vast number of television and Internet sources, and deliver it to more viewers in more places than ever before.
All of this gives people more freedom in where and how they access their entertainment, while also providing a familiar, consistent experience. For example, subscribers could start watching a show on one screen and finish watching it on another. They could also build a video queue on a smartphone and watch the content later on a TV or PC. While traveling they could watch a recorded TV program on a smartphone and later watch an on-demand feature film in HD on a laptop all via Mediaroom 2.0 enabled TV services.