Software // Enterprise Applications
News
5/17/2007
10:08 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Can Microsoft Beat The Set-Top Box?

Microsoft is setting the groundwork to challenge cable companies with Home Server, Vista, and the Xbox video game console, which can play Internet content and high-definition DVDs on a TV.

Indeed, Microsoft for years has been trying to gets its TV software and program guide in digital cable boxes in the United States. The company managed to get its TV Foundation Edition software for cable operators in Comcast boxes. This week, however, Comcast said it would no longer carry Microsoft software, opting instead for GuideWorks, a joint venture of Comcast and Gemstar-TV Guide International, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

Comcast was using Microsoft software only in the latter company's home state of Washington, the newspaper said. GuideWorks was used everyplace else.

Clearly, the home network capable of distributing the most content -- from Web pages and HBO to digital photos -- would have an advantage. In Microsoft's view, any advantage a set-top box has today won't last.

Microsoft believes people will eventually be able to go directly to the Internet for the programming they want, rather than pay a subscription fee to a cable or telephone company that licenses programming from content providers, Steven VanRoekel, product manager for Windows Home Server, told InformationWeek at WinHEC. Some type of billing infrastructure would have to be developed to avoid paying each content provider separately. But his point is there won't be a need for anything more than an Internet connection.

While acknowledging such a scenario is years away, Microsoft is setting the groundwork with Home Server, Vista, and the Xbox video game console, which can play Internet content and high-definition DVDs on a TV.

"All those things are leading indicators of where the future is going and how we plan to foster that direction," VanRoekel said. "It's always crawl, walk, run. We're getting up to the walk stage" in home networking.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.