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."