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Microsoft's IPTV Solution Launched in France

Deutsche Telekom's French Internet arm, Club Internet, will this month become the first in Europe to offer an Internet-based television and video-on-demand service using Microsoft's IPTV software.

The IPTV software package, which was commercially launched in the United States in September, is a key plank of the group's strategy to diversify into telecoms, media and the home-networking market. "This is a big market opportunity for us. There are 1.6 billion TV sets worldwide," Elena Branet, senior marketing manager for Microsoft TV, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Microsoft's TV software allows users to watch high-definition TV, pause live TV or watch two programmes at the same time and record up to 50 hours. "IP (Internet Protocol) TV is a hot topic for telecoms operators," Branet added. "They telecoms operators can increase their average revenue per user by offering video services in addition to voice and data."

Existing customers at Club Internet will be able to start using Microsoft's TV software at the end of the month while new customers will wait until August. The U.S. software provider expects to launch its TV software commercially with Deutsche Telekom in Germany starting this summer and BT Group in Britain later this year.

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