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Microsoft Sees Future in IPTV 246

Posted by Zonk
from the would-be-nice-if-it-ever-happens dept.
linumax writes "It took 12 years and more than $10 billion, but one of Microsoft's biggest dreams may finally be coming true: The company is close to becoming a major player in the television business. This is not about PCs that play video -- the company has done that for years -- but rather a whole new platform for delivering television over the Internet, through software that's mostly invisible to consumers." From the article: "Consumers will see cool new features -- imagine four live pictures on a screen at once -- instant channel changes and more options for on-demand video rentals, including high-definition content. Microsoft TV also merges phone services, so incoming messages, e-mail and caller ID can be displayed on users' television screens. Microsoft hopes its Internet protocol television system (IPTV) will also be used in India, China and other developing countries, where it could provide education and government services as well as entertainment via the television."
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Microsoft Sees Future in IPTV

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  • Hmm, I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:40PM (#13769304)
    I wonder how many commercials MS will add in between shows. If it's the 25+ minutes that is currently the norm on regular TV networks, then I doubt that they will get very many people to sign on.

    I know that my money is staying in my pocket until someone introduces commercial-free subscription TV.

    • I know that my money is staying in my pocket until someone introduces commercial-free subscription TV.

      Yes, if only someone [hbo.com] thought of that...

    • I wonder how many commercials MS will add in between shows. If it's the 25+ minutes that is currently the norm on regular TV networks, then I doubt that they will get very many people to sign on.

      It's called Subliminal Advertising. Microsoft is good A big hurdle, yet Microsoft is good is the required bandwidth, where cable cable is bad for you and satellite satellite bad for you have bandwidth galore as it's mostly Microsoft is good one way and minimally dependent Bill loves you consumer end hardware.

      B

    • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @07:13PM (#13769570) Homepage Journal
      They'll keep a 30 minute show to 30 minutes, but real programming will be sped up 1.4x from 22 minutes to 16 minutes, offering them 6 additional minutes of ads. The extra ads will be performed on the TV shows' sets by the actors, to confound the commercial skippers.

      "Buy Irish Spring Soap, it even makes me smell good!" Malcolm Reynolds
    • I always wondered...

      It makes sense for Radio to have commercials - it is free and they need a way to support (and make a profit) themselves.

      However, both Cable and Sat. television are NOT free (and are actually quite expensive depending on the provider) but they still have commercials. Now, I understand that television programs (or Video, rather) is much more costly to make. With shows like LOST/24/Alias/etc having larger and larger budgets (and sometimes the quality of the show reflects that *cough*2

  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:40PM (#13769308) Homepage Journal
    IPTV is the needed "invention" to roll faster connections for less money. IPTV can offer a variable payment method - subscription (show, channel or all channels), pay per view, or ads. IPTV can bring low budget vids to a wide audience, and it can tell advertisers, content creaters and others who is really watching their shows.

    But will government, cable distributors and Hollywood allow it? I already foresee the "monopoly monopoly!" posts, but I think only a few big players could start the ball rolling.

    I am very interested in seeing what MS can do to overcome bandwidth concerns at the backbone, ISP and user level (TFA only eludes to it).

    IPTV could destroy Tivo, Comcast and Fox if the content is broadcast quality or better. I fear blog production quality, though.

    Will this eventually be a separately managed "Internet" bridged at the DSLAM or ISP level? Will MS involve enough big players to keep regulators off their back? Will it run Linux? Err...

    Then again, it could be a WebTV failure as well.

    We need to stop separating media into cable, POTS, cell, radio, Internet, etc. Its all just packets and it needs massive cohesion in order to be truly at-will. Use all that bandwidth for AnyPacket services and bandwidth will skyrocket while prices will plummet. Why is MS forced to chase landlines? Overregulation.

    Funny though that MS is digging their own grave. IPTV = more bandwidth = more client-server software implementation.

    I can't wait for the future.
    • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:54PM (#13769441) Homepage
      But will government, cable distributors and Hollywood allow it?

      Verizon and SBC have been having some problems licensing TV channels, but they'll probably just spend their way through the problem. There are also local franchise problems that are being slowly solved in various legislatures.

      I am very interested in seeing what MS can do to overcome bandwidth concerns at the backbone, ISP and user level

      You can't fix this problem in software. SBC is using VDSL over the last mile and the video will all be flowing over their own network (aka "walled garden"). IP multicast cuts down on the backbone traffic a lot.

      IPTV could destroy Tivo, Comcast and Fox if the content is broadcast quality or better.

      It is broadcast quality, but for the forseeable future you'll only be able to get IPTV from your last-mile broadband provider. Obviously cable companies have no need for IPTV, so that leaves the telcos. Telcos are just starting to roll out broadband networks that have enough capacity for IPTV (VDSL/FTTH). TiVo is an equipment/software provider, so they can survive in an IPTV world by making IPTV boxes instead of cable boxes. Fox is a content company, so IPTV will just be another distribution channel for their content.
      • Verizon and SBC have been having some problems licensing TV channels, but they'll probably just spend their way through the problem. There are also local franchise problems that are being slowly solved in various legislatures. Both over-regulation consequences.

        IP multicast cuts down on the backbone traffic a lot. Maybe, but true IPTV would be on-demand rather than scheduled, IMO. Of course, if the back-end is closed and licensed, its doomed to fail. iTunes picks RSS feeds for podcasting from anyone, bu
        • by r_cerq (650776) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @07:49PM (#13769824)
          Maybe, but true IPTV would be on-demand rather than scheduled, IMO. Of course, if the back-end is closed and licensed, its doomed to fail. iTunes picks RSS feeds for podcasting from anyone, but IPTV will likely give us "what we don't want, when we don't want it."
          You're limiting IPTV to VoD or time-shifted TV, and that's not what it's about. Think "cable operator with real-time interactive features". IPTV is not _just_ a consumer-oriented tech, it's a way for telcos to compete with cable operators and pay for the high-bandwidth last-mile links customers want nowadays. (the ARPU in TV services is MUCH higher than Internet or voice)

          You'll get the god-knows-how-many broadcast channels as before, and those, being real-time, can and will use multicast, so each individual channel will only go once through the backbone. For timeshifted TV (think TiVO's "pause"), you can just have an HDD on the STB. Video-on-Demand, however, _Will_ take it's toll on the operator's network, as each customer's video-feed will be unique to that customer.

          And now, to go back to the original article, I've seen MS's platform in exhibits throughout the year. It's gorgeous, but it's expensive as hell (the STBs require a massive amount of capacity to do their nifty little features. While most middleware vendors make do with small PPC CPU's in the 200-400 Mhz range, MS's solution needs at least a 700MHz Celeron. The investment per customer goes through the roof) they're hardly a big contender in that area (although they're growing). They (still?) have a sizeable and healthy number of competitors.
    • IP/TV is a registered trademark of Cisco Systems.

      (I know this because I was one of the primary authors of the product by that name.)
    • [IPTV is the needed "invention" to roll faster connections for less money. IPTV can offer a variable payment method - subscription (show, channel or all channels), pay per view, or ad]

      IPTV is nothing new. I can already get video on demand from Comcast, as well as Internet and phone service if I wanted it, and I don't need Microsoft for any of it. The video-on-demand is OK for the free movies, but I wouldn't pay for it as the quality is poor and there is too much artifacting, and IPTV will do nothing to s
      • Regulation has nothing to do with it either. There is a finite amount of bandwidth available at a price people are willing to pay.

        But how much wired bandwidth could be added if more providers could run connections? Overregulation prevents that.

        How much wireless bandwidth goes unused any given moment? Look at the entire spectrum and see the waste of separating it, regulating it into TV, radio, wifi, GSM, etc.

        Analog wireless is dying. Combine the bandwidth into a large pool. Maximize the use of it all.

        Reg
  • Good grief. How many people evn use Picture in picture?
    I get called foure eyes a lot, but even I have a hard time
    following two screens at once, much less four.
  • pointless? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tehwebguy (860335)
    to me this seems like such a waste. the few features mentioned sound like crap or not new. for instance the article says "imagine four live pictures on the screen at once" -- why would i want to watch 4 at once? anyway, picture in picture (you know, that button that says PIP that nobody uses) has been around since the dark ages. the other features mentioned are already available one way or another or are pointless.
    • Could come in handy if you're watching the Olympics
  • Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:47PM (#13769363)
    With PC sales slowing as the market saturates, Microsoft is salivating over the potential of faster-growing areas such as television and mobile phones.

    Salivating? More like clawing desperately at taking over the living room. They already failed with WMA thanks to iPod.

    All Apple has to do is release a video-based iPod, and it's bye-bye Windows in the living room as well--to be more specific, WMV (VC-1) will be dead along with H.264, which is already the primary codec for Blu-ray movies (Sony is already threatening X-Box 360's streaming movie capabilities thanks to Blue-ray, thereby making X-Box 360 useless since it has no Blu-ray or HD-DVD drive).

    I'm sorry, the features sound cool, but a lot of Microsoft tech gadgets have come and gone that sounded cool on the surface but just didn't provide the right interface or were too cumbersome. As usual, I'll wait and see (and hope Apple does something to actually legitimize it).
    • Re:Sure (Score:3, Informative)

      by interiot (50685)
      They already failed with WMA thanks to iPod.
      Well, there's another iPod announcement tommorow [engadget.com]... Apple could have video wrapped up by then too.
    • Re:Sure (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QuietLagoon (813062) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @07:39PM (#13769756)
      I'm sorry, the features sound cool, but a lot of Microsoft tech gadgets have come and gone that sounded cool on the surface but just didn't provide the right interface or were too cumbersome.

      Microsoft's software always sounds good before it is actually released. We should check with some people [theregister.co.uk] who have already tried to use Microsoft's IPTV offerings.

    • "WMV (VC-1) will be dead along with H.264, which is already the primary codec for Blu-ray movies (Sony is already threatening X-Box 360's streaming movie capabilities thanks to Blue-ray, thereby making X-Box 360 useless since it has no Blu-ray or HD-DVD drive)."

      I always see this kind of stuff recurring here on ./ about H.264. H.264 is not tied to blue-ray, hddvd or anything. It is a codec. You can put h.264 encoded movies on anything you want. I also think that video encoding is one of the few areas wher

      • by jZnat (793348) *
        H.264 is fucking patented, that's why we bitch about it. A standard is patented. A STANDARD is fucking PATENTED. What kind of bullshit is that? If you're going to make a standard, especially an ISO-certified (and IEC in this case) one, then you should really be giving up all "rights" to owning the "standard" so that people can, oh, use it? Sure, patent your method of using the standard all you want; nobody gives a damn as you'll spend more time making the patent than, oh, ffmpeg will spend programming
    • WMV (VC-1) will be dead along with H.264, which is already the primary codec for Blu-ray movies

      I think you might be a little confused here. For one, both VC-1 and H.264 are usable for Blu-Ray movies, along with MPEG-2. Also, these three are also the codecs for HD-DVD. Any Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player will be able to play back all three, so neither codec can really "kill" the other.
  • Imagine.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colonslashslash (762464) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:47PM (#13769365) Homepage
    "Imagine four live pictures on a screen at once"

    Imagine two of those being horrible brainless reality TV re-runs peppered with commercials for products you wouldn't even think about buying, one a giant fat dirty BSoD and the other a rather fetching locked-up "Do you want to send this error report to Microsoft" dialog box floating happily on a background of hills and blue sky.

    Ahh yes, the future is bright. The future is BallmerVision.

    • Re:Imagine.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @07:30PM (#13769696) Journal
      When I saw the article title: "Microsoft Sees Future in IPTV" and the line "...Microsoft's biggest dreams may finally be coming true:"

      The first thing I thought was "Intellectual Property Television", and "oh great, Microsoft is going to try to patent the idea of selling things on TV. AND start their own TV home shopping channel to boot.".

      Must be too many anti-MS articles lately, I'm getting trigger happy....
      • Lately, Microsoft has been fighting media-related patents and whatnot that generally get in their way of making an all-in-one media system, whether or not those things are Bad Ideas in the first place. Microsoft's been scoring up on the respect scale ever since they decided that, "hey, this patent shit is getting in our way; let's try to end this now."
    • by twitter (104583)
      Imagine two of those being horrible brainless reality TV re-runs peppered with commercials for products you wouldn't even think about buying, one a giant fat dirty BSoD

      You've given them too much credit! I don't have to imagine, all I have to do is open up Internet Exploder. Advertisements take up 3/4 of the screen, leaving about 1/4 for your reality TV show. Pop ups will come at random to cover the one thing you want to look at, so "Power Users" will deploy Dual and Quad screen "solutions". As Outlook

    • by vertinox (846076)
      Ahh yes, the future is bright. The future is BallmerVision.

      So I have to throw a chair at my TV to get it to work?
  • Blurring the line... (Score:4, Informative)

    by fragmentate (908035) * <jdspilled@gm a i l.com> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:47PM (#13769367) Journal
    I remember when Amiga [amiga.com] was talking about such an environment. Where the lines between appliances were blurred. They dubbed it Digital Convergence [com.com] but never went very far with it.

    The idea was that all of your devices serve a single purpose (they did in 1998, when this was published). But, Amiga had this vision that they'd develop a platform that could live on a TV, a computer, a mobile phone, even a PDA. You could watch TV on your phone. Or you could use your phone over the TV (huh?). Even better, your phone and your TV could be your computer.

    The next ten years are definitely going to be interesting. Will Microsoft ever get this thing off the ground? Or will all of the litigation stifle it?

    I realize what Microsoft is talking about is a bit different, at least on the surface. But if they have this portable "media OS" they can certainly take it to the next level -- the level of "Digital Convergence".
    • Look, WebTV was bad enough for the Internet. Why are repeating it? Look at the mentally handicapped and severely delusional who bought into the first time. I don't think online forums and Usenet could stand another assault from the "I bought my computer at a prayer meeting" crowd.
  • The real annoyance. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Elgonn (921934) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:48PM (#13769375)
    Not ads or commercials but: How much DRM and proprietary hardware will be needed to view it?
    • How much DRM and proprietary hardware will be needed to view it?

      The same amount as with digital cable. IPTV looks and feels just like digital cable (the boxes are even made by the same companies); the only difference is RTP/IP vs. TS/QAM transport protocols.
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:48PM (#13769378)
    Yup, nothing truly exists until Microsoft 'Innovates' it into existence. Nope, nobody ever thought of sending video over IP until today, thank God Microsoft is out there inventing the future for us.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:49PM (#13769384)
    isolate people from one another, make them sedentary and homebound, render many hours of their days sterile and counterproductive,...

    Great, that's all we need, 4 simultaneous screens filled with crap. If only they could raise the level of current programs and take commercials away, I'd pay dearly for such television. In the meantime, I'll stick to my books thank you very much.

    • ... isolate people from one another, make them sedentary and homebound, render many hours of their days sterile and counterproductive,...

      My god, they're making Slashdot TV!

      I can't wait for the CmdrTaco news report -- with dupes :)

      - shadowmatter
      • "There was a flood in Jamaica. Ten thousand Bob Marley impersonators were swept out to sea."

        [pause]

        "And in other news, Jamaicans are worried that ten thousand Bob Marley impersonators may have been killed in freak flooding."

        [pause]

        "And in other news, the Bob Marley Impersonation Council is asking for donations to help in the recovery after disasterous Jamaican floods."
        • ROFLMAO! That's true. It is practically the format/recipe for all of today's news and shows.

        • Nah man, it'd go something like this:

          Zonk: "There was a flood in Jamaica. Ten thousand Bob Marley impersonators were swept out to sea. Update by Z: fixed amount of deaths."

          [pause]

          CmdrTaco: "And in other news, Jamaicans are worried that ten thousandd Bob Marley impersonaters may have been killed in friek flooding."

          [pause]

          Cliff: "And in other news, the Bob Marley Impersonation Council is asking for donations to help in the recovery after disasterous Jamaican floods."

          [pause]

          samzenpus: "Finally, ten thousand i
    • Yeah, 'cause books don't make you sedintary and they really do help with your social life too. Not that I watch a lot of TV, just the pot shouldn't be calling the kettle black. :-)
    • This attitude is a real pet peeve of mine.

      first, not everything on TV is crap. What is crap depends on the viewer now, doesn't it?
      second, TiVO pretty much deals with the commercial issue.
      Third, If they don't know what you would like to see, they'll never make it.
      forth, this one is a biggy and may come as a surprise to you so you better be sure your fat ass is sitting down...what am I saying, of course it's sitting down. ok ready? here goes:
      There are books that are crap too. More books are crap then every TV
    • Exactly why a truly revolutionary IPTV medium would:

      1. Let you choose what you watch and when (and where: home, PC, PDA, vPod)

      2. Let you choose how to pay (ads, PPV, subscription, surveys)

      3. Let you choose the quality levels

      4. Let you choose value added options (surround sound, multiple views for sports, optional languages)

      5. Let anyway buy into the distribution, and receive a revenue share.
    • Well, at least they won't get social diseases...

      Did you ever stop to think that perhaps the home-bound internet addicts will be the ONLY ones to survive the next big flu epidemic? Taking farm boys that had never been out of their home town and then shipping them all over the world was a primary cause of the Spanish Flu epidemic. Staying at home prostrating yourself before the glowing CRT could actually save your life!

  • Adware and Spyware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kludge99 (196947) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:52PM (#13769419)
    This brings a whole new level to the meaning of Adware and Spyware. Talk about your privacy concerns. Microsoft will know not only when you watch TV but also which channels.
  • Wait A Minute.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mpapet (761907)
    I've seen this article before.

    1. New MS technology to revolutionize some industry MS doesn't dominate.
    2. Feature list that makes you say "wow."
    3. Feature list, like most MS products is 99.9% over-promised.
    4. Does anyone really want a TV that downloads spam?
    5. Does anyone want a TV that can interrupt them?
    6. How about a TV that controls what you watch?

    I seem to remember some TV viewing software in Windows 95 that made similar promises.
    • Right, 'cause there certainly aren't any other companies besides Microsoft that massively overhype and underdeliver on their new products, is there? {cough}Sony{cough}
      • Sony hypes their products?

        Gee.. I guess they're so far below my radar now that I haven't noticed. What have they done since the Trinitron?

        -jcr
  • "Instant" channel changes? Hardly. Unless you're streaming all 10,000 channels over the customer's DSL2 line... which can't happen.

    Sounds nice though, doesn't it?
    • Anything less than one jnd [wikipedia.org] is "instant", and I vaguely remember reading that MS has some trick to do channel changes in only a few RTT, which would be good enough.

      (Background: Analog TV systems can usually change channels in a few frames. But digital systems have to wait for the next I-frame, which may be a half-second or more. But if a server sent you the previous I-frame over unicast, you could start decoding much sooner.)
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummelNO@SPAMjohnhummel.net> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:59PM (#13769479) Homepage
    From what I've seen, the excitement of "IPTV" seems to be modeled on the wrong things. "Have four screens at once! Imagine all the TV you'll get!"

    I think the real magic of IPTV will be convenience. Right now, I have an iPod for Podcasts (yes, the name sucks to some people - deal with it), and a Tivo at home. For some stupid ass reason, Tivo doesn't have their Desktop software with OS X 10.4, but that's another issue.

    For me, the beauty of IPTV will be watching whatever I want. Whenver I want. Did I miss "Battlestar Gallactica" or the entire first season of "Veronica Mars" (Hey, I've seen the first three episodes - good show). Or "Firefly". With IPTV, and perhaps some sort of subscription in place of my cable, I can see them. Click the button to my set top Tivo-ish device, and I can watch the episode. Or use my account to view it on my phone as I travel nationwide. Or catch it on my laptop. I wouldn't even mind commercials so much (unless they were done in an onerous fashion - ie: if I pay $2 to watch an episode, I better damn well be able to fast forward a commercial if I want).

    The rest of it ("instant channel changes"? My parents had that with a regular TV - it was called "Hey, kid, change the channel") is fluff. But IPTV has a need now. Look at how many people download episodes off of the net. I'll be honest: if I missed a show (pre-Tivo days), I'd bittorrent it and catch the other episodes later. I'm still hoping that Tivo fixes its desktop software to make it 10.4 compatible so next time I hop on a plane I can watch something there instead of feeling bad for violating intellectual property law by downloading a commercial-less TV episode through a peer to peer network. (Yes, I'm not sure if it's officially illegal or not, but since I'm assuming it is not legal, I still feel bad.)

    What's going to be interesting is how Microsoft reacts. Right now, Apple has a near lock on the online music industry - and if my theory is right, they're manuevering so that within 5-10 years when iPods are down to $30-$50 apiece (aka - the price of a decent portable CD player right now), they'll make their money by being the driver of online music sales through the iTunes store, thereby becoming the Microsoft of music. (Oh, I'm sure the Apple fans are going to hate me for that one.)

    My guess is that Apple is now hoping to do the same thing for online video sales. I don't predict an iPod Video tomorrow, but if Apple has an "Airport Express Video" or some other type of device with a tivo-ish remote control interface (store the movies/video podcasts/etc on your PC, stream through the wireless device in a oh-so-Apple cool and simple interface), they could make a move.

    Microsoft is all about the PC - everything is the PC and serves it. Apple I think has learned that, with the iPod, they can keep the PC in there, but it's a side player; without the PC, the iPod would not function, but it doesn't matter if you use Windows or Mac, Apple still makes money. If they introduced another device that was like that, Apple could continue to have the PC be important, but not the *most* important thing.

    (Which is why I think their recent market share sales went from 4.5% to 6.6% or something like that according to their latest financial statement - by making the PC unimportant with their devices, they made it easier to buy a Mac. Odd idea, and I'll let someone else tell me how wrong I am.)

    If they had a device like that, the studios would be, like the iPod, forced to play with them or risk being locked out. MS would rather you bu a "media center PC" - yet another big complicated expensive box for the house, which may be giving them tunnel vision in their IPTV plans. So I'm not sure if they get it - but we'll just have to wait and see.

    Of course, this is all my opinion. I could be wrong.
    • I'm very impressed by your theory, but it seems to me to be incomplete. For instance, where does the assassination of JFK come into play? I mean, it doesn't broach how his coffin was dumped into the ocean, or how the UN and the Rockefellers are plotting to take over America in the New World Order.
    • I sure one can very easily argue that watching a bittorrented version of a previously broadcast TV show is legitimate fair use.

      I mean, think about it this way, if you were to record it to a tape, and cut out the commercials. We've already had established court precedent that this is entirely legal.

      Next, George asks you, "Hey, Bob, did you record the most recent Survivor? I missed it." You say, "Hells yeah, it's awesome. Here, have my copy/I'll make you a copy." Again, reasonable fair-use. George could
  • I can't see a cable/satelite company letting them send a competing television service using their pipeline and I can't see a phone/dsl provider letting them provide a competing phone service using their pipeline either.
  • Couldn't give a damn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @07:08PM (#13769537) Journal
    Quite frankly as technology moves forward, TV becomes less and less important in my life so the prospect of 4 simultaneous screens, interactive 'this', view again 'that' leaves me cold. For the same reason, building new features into the TV is aiming at the wrong device - I spend more time on my computer than watching TV - and that's NOT to say I live and breathe computers 24/7.

    The Internet is a wonderful tool that has allowed me to do my job (IT support and consultancy), keep in touch with old friends, see what's on in the local cinemas, check out local live music, order books, CDs and DVDs online and contribute to technical discussions etc. and gadgets such as a SmartPhone and PDA mean I can check email and perform remote diagnostics and configs wherever I am.

    Sad techie? - not really, the portability of my support tools means I do not have to be tied to the office all day - I can be 'on the road' meeting people, working from home or even taking 'time out' to do what I want to do until something needs my attention. Far from nailing me down in front of a 'media wall' of plasma/LCD TVs, the Internet and technology has got me 'out and about', socialising and spending more time in the real world.

    The prospect of more sophisticated media delivery via the Internet is 'logical' from an evolutionary perspective but right now I'd give up my TV if it wasn't for my 5 year old Son and his Children's programs, my wife's love for all things 'soap' and the fact that I watch the news every now and then.

    Deliver my 'regular' TV via IP if you wish but do it because it makes it cheaper or happens to be 'the way to go', but not because you think I am crying out for wall-to-wall soaps, drama, comedy etc. 4-up on the display!

    Information and learning via IP TV - well Digital analogue, digital terrestrial and satellite can do that already. but I suppose you gain interactivity 'built in'. Alert me when a phone call comes in? - er, my basic phone does that by making a noise. Well I suppose with the new system, when a call comes in it will start to record the current programme in case I miss something - well, if the program was *that* watchable I'd keep watching unless ther was some kind of emergency - but the number of times that has happened in my life so far? - er - zero; and if I miss the news it will be round again in half an hour.

    The target markets are interesting - India, China and 'developing' countries - hmm, sounds like a good idea to lock every one into your 'all-in-one' system whereas right now I have the freedom to buy a TV, radio, computer (email), landline telephone service and rent DVDs from anyone I want and mix and match service providers to suit me - oh, and then what happens when there's a local distribution point failure - I lose all my comms and media services in one go?? - brilliant!!
  • DirecTV has a few stations that show four shows at once. It's a quick way to see what's on on several networks at once, or you can see what story the major news channels are showing. Only one has sound.

    It may sound like a fun idea, but in reality it really isn't all that useful, you can only have sound on one at a time anyway, and I'm sure you can't read the CC for four stations at once...

  • IPTV is more commonly know arond these parts as Iowa Public Television, the state run science, educational, and childrens channel. That would have to be one of the last places I would want to see M$. (it's bad enough M$ has managed to get advertisements on what used to be an advertisement-free channel)
  • Kudos to MS for actually implementing something no one ever has before.
  • IPTV(or some similar implementation) is the future. Same as digital distrobution gaining ground in the music industry and gaming industry. The movie industry is already exploring their options too.

    The problem is, and always has been, our sorely lacking infastructure. Not every home has broadband, and most homes that do can't afford the "super deluxe" high bandwith options. Beyond that, most ISPs offer horrendusly shoddy customer service. Frequent outages, slow speeds, etc are the norm(more so the fu
  • wow, and I though television had sunk to it's lowest already.

    moore's law applies to the bottom end too, eh?
  • Why does every new product/technology have to be "used in India, China and other developing countries, where it could provide education and government services"?
  • Single Play DVD, Now IPTV? I can't see a breakthough here as people have been streaming video for years and I doubt that anything does will be 'almost' seamless. Good luck to them, if they can get the major content providers to play the game too.
  • Consumers will see cool new features -- imagine four live pictures on a screen at once -- instant channel changes

    Yeah, I hate having to wait several minutes from when I push the channel change button to when the channel actually changes, as with all current TV's. What a godsend this new innovation will be!
  • by grcumb (781340) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @07:41PM (#13769772) Homepage Journal

    I haven't seen anyone comment on this yet, so here goes....

    The summary states that MS hopes to partner with developing nations like China and India to use IPTV as an educational tool. As someone who works full-time on IT in development, I'd like to offer my considered opinion that this is one of the worst possible suggestions one could possibly make.

    The resource requirements for a service such as this would be incredibly expensive, especially relative to the amount of money available. Most importantly, it would require a massively centralised infrastructure that is almost the exact opposite of the kind of setup that would actually benefit rural communities. Production studios, distribution facilities, high bandwidth network infrastructure in places that barely even have a power grid - how could this possible look like a good idea?

    I'll tell you how: MS is doing the same thing that the IMF and others have done for decades. They're trying to sucker these countries into building a system that will keep them chained to MS for an entire generation, simply by tying a ribbon around it and saying, 'Think of the children!'

    It is, in my opinion, a cynical and calculated move to take money from the hands of those who could make a real difference and put it into the hands of the rich.

    It sickens me to see people taking advantage of others who are poor and ignorant. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all the time in developing nations. It looks like MS is growing up as a corporation, and learning to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before.

  • Inst(buffering...33%)ant chan(buffering...15%)nel chan(buffering...7%)ges!
  • Well.. it's nice to know that MSFT has decided to implement what Cisco has been delivering for years... http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns340/ns394/ns15 8/ns88/networking_solutions_package.html [cisco.com]

    I wish MSFT would just realize they are an OS/application company and not a networking company....
  • ...calling up my friends... "Quick channel 2304! Porn virus!"
  • hook up a web cam and we have video phone..

    (not the regular one...i mean like "the island")....it makes me so jetsons-ly..... commentator:will he make...(TV rings..incoming call - jeff)

    TV: take call??

    me:yes...

    me: jeff get the *&&^$& off im trying to watch the game...

    jeff: (disgustingly wearing only boxers)yo did u see mark on the 4th pushes button

    TV: accept time marker??

    me: yes

    TV splits screen in 2 half jeff and half the clip from the game he sent

    me: that bastard he told me he lost his

  • Maybe it's closer to the first of April than I realize, but this sounds very innovative of Microsoft. Actually, it sounds like something Apple should be making.

    In the spirit of even-a-broken-watch-is-right-twice-a-day, I applaud Microsoft.
  • with my short attention span, sounds (eh, looks) like a great idea to me.
  • ...where it could provide education and government services as well as entertainment via the television.

    Yes, because we've all seen how the proliferation of television has resulted in a more informed, educated populace. If anything, it's just the opposite: A lowest-common-denominator, consent-manufacturing propaganda tool. I'm pretty sure people grow less critical and more sheep-like with each hour they watch.

    Just the sort of thing we want in the hands of a company with a history like Microsoft's.

  • by xtal (49134) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @09:22PM (#13770362) Homepage
    The wild success of DirectTV, Bell ExpressVu and it's ilk basically slammed TV over wires - even classic big fat wires like Cable badly. I was involved with one such failed venture, and at one point, there were a half dozen companies in the space. It's technically possible but makes almost no sense.

    I'm not sure where microsoft sees themselves positioned, but the problem is you need to have a service provider for your IPTV -and- a broadband link, and if you believe your video streams aren't going to interfere with your bandwidth.. especially over a few boxes.. heh

    It doesn't make sense, and consumers aren't stupid, educated by decades of passionate hatred for Cable companies.

    You want to know where IPTV has a chance? It's in interactive pr0n services direct to your TV. That, and maybe gambling. The satellite companies must make a fortune off pr0n, but they can't do the interactive thing. The webchat adult entertainment companies make a mint, but don't have a plug-it-in-and-play (ha) solution for the bedroom and living room. Anyone want a consultant? :-)
  • instant channel changes

    Translation: Buffering... 5%.. 18%.. 39%.. 63%.. 72%........... 10%..!
  • by dream_team34 (922255) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @01:54AM (#13771373)
    Before you guys go congratulating Microsoft for innovating the concept of IPTV or allowing telephone companies to deliver telivision services... other companies have been doing this for years before Microsoft got into the game. Check out the following companies: http://www.minervanetworks.com/ [minervanetworks.com] http://www.myrio.com/ [myrio.com] http://www.orca.tv/ [www.orca.tv] http://www.tutsys.com/ [tutsys.com] http://www.skystream.com/ [skystream.com] Hundreds of phone companies in the US TODAY, and more in other countries, already offer IPTV to their customers... and no, not using Microsoft's software. There are already companies that are offering these "advanced" services, which alot of people on here thinks Microsoft innovated.
  • 2nd choice - at best (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @04:17AM (#13771726) Homepage Journal
    I work for a major, major telecom company.

    After a careful and very extensive evaluation taking almost a year, the microsoft solution was rejected by both technical and administrative decision makers, because it falls short of competitors.

    As you can see from this, M$ IPTV has been on the market for over a year already.

    I'm certain others will find the same results. So I wonder how much of this is just artificially created hype to create more sales, because for all I know they are barely worth mentioning so far.
  • Paradigms lost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @04:21AM (#13771738) Homepage Journal
    Broadcast TV is seriously threatened, and is only just realising it.

    I have TV on demand already, in the form of 24+ hours of unwatched files on my home PC's hard drive. I'd download more but that would just be pointless, I don't have the time to watch it. Speaking to co-workers I realise that this is not so very unusual. Sure it's not mainstream, but give it a few years. I don't think there's any way to really stop this short of shutting down the internet. All this flailing around to find a business model and a set-top-box that will fix last century's media paradigm to compete with the free online equivalent of swap meets is amusing in a pathetic kind of way.

    So - broadcast once, let the viewers rip to a file and download forevermore? Or will future TV show makers upload the files to the net themselves? Will this be the end of big-budget shows? Is that a bad thing?
  • by Martin Spamer (244245) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @05:22AM (#13771885) Homepage Journal
    10 Billion dollars and 12years ?

    And they still dont have a workable product.

    I worked at (and designed the software for) Kingston Interactive Television [broadcastpapers.com] where we developed an iDTV, VOD and Internet system in less than 2 years. The whole project cost less than 30m and that includes the MAN & DSLAM's for 30k installations and the actual installation in 10,000 home. We where the first to launch this anywhere in the world, it actually worked and not a MS-box in sight. It was all bases on ARM STB's, Sun Application Servers, NCube Video servers, Linux for Internet and Tanberg MPEG Transcoders.

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