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IPTV Keynote: Microsoft's Benchmarks

Hopes for Telco triple-play go back some time, observed Phil Corman, Director of Microsoft TV, and as the US West Choice TV & Online service demonstrated, the results have been disappointing -- So why now? For telcos, it is becoming a matter of simple survival, said Corman, and compared to earlier efforts, this time the technology is ready. An important starting point, said Corman, is to consider what IPTV is not. �IPTV is not video streaming over the Internet, watching TV on your PC or merely a best-efforts video service. It has to be based on a proven business model.� Corman believes a key to the new paradigm will be the Electronic Program Guide that allows users to navigate the service. One of the benchmarks for enabling IPTV is the establishment of a viable ecosystem of technology suppliers and content providers. Microsoft�s recently announced strategic partnership with Alcatel is aimed at achieving this goal, explained Corman. Microsoft�s other IPTV partners include Tandberg and Harmonic for video headend. At the client side, Microsoft is looking for mass-market IP set-boxes at price points below $100. Here partners include Thomson, Samsung, Sigma Designs, ST and Intel. Corman said Microsoft currently has about a dozen customers for its IPTV service, including the recent high-profile wins at BellSouth, SBC and Verizon.

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