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Microsoft eyes digital-TV
September 5, 2000: 6:37 a.m. ET

Software giant said set to announce new system for digital TV sets
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Microsoft Corp. is set to announce that the next version of its Windows operating system will also be able to power digital TV sets, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software company plans to fold its software for digital television set-top boxes -- dubbed Microsoft TV - into the successor to the operating system Windows 2000, dubbed Whistler, which is due to hit store shelves next year, the newspaper said.

graphicThe company will unveil a trial version of the software at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam Friday, the report said, citing people familiar with Microsoft's strategy.

"Set-top boxes are growing to be more like PCs," Ed Graczyk, director of Microsoft's (MSFT: Research, Estimates) TV Platform Group, was quoted as telling the Journal.

Embedding the existing television software into the personal computer operating system is the latest attempt by Microsoft to play catch-up in the field of digital entertainment. Thus far, it has trailed behind rivals like Mountain View, Calif.-based rival Open TV Corp., the paper noted.

Broadcasters require sophisticated software to help them offer viewers interactive services such as on-demand weather, e-mail, and e-commerce services related to programming.

Microsoft reportedly hopes to convince broadcasters to use its digital-TV technology because it will offer consumers the ability to power both their television sets and PCs with a single device; that would eliminate the requisite separate set-top box needed for decoding digital television signals, the Journal noted.

But some industry experts expressed doubts about Microsoft's ability to catch up with digital-TV market leaders, the report said. Back to top


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