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Microsoft Hawks Its IPTV Platform

Microsoft came to this week's International Broadcasting Convention with its media-processing chip and a host of set-top box offerings.

John Walko

September 9, 2005

2 Min Read

AMSTERDAM — Microsoft came to this week's International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) with a novel media processor co-designed with Sigma Designs and targeted at IPTV applications, as well as a host of set top box offerings.

Microsoft said it is working with many other semiconductor suppliers to introduce a range of SOC products to support its efforts in IPTV.

The SoC processor, dubbed SMP8634 , extends the processing functionality of Sigma Design's open standards-based SMP series of media processors to deliver the full power of Microsoft's TV platform.

The device can handle multiple channels of high-definition (HD) video and on-screen graphics, multimedia processing, powerful content security, and support for peripherals such as USB 2.0, IDE, Ethernet and HDMI.

There is also support for the VC-1 and H.264 (MPEG-4) video codecs, which the compnay says can further reduce development costs for set-top box manufacturers.

The processor can be embedded inside a range of consumer electronic devices , including set-top boxes, digital video disc players and gaming consoles.

The SMP8634's decoder engines support video decoding of H.264 (MPEG-4 part 10), Windows Media Video 9 (Microsoft's implementation of VC-1, the proposed SMPTE standard), MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 (part 2) with multiple streams, up to the equivalent of two high-definition video streams.

At the show, which opens Friday (Sept 9), set-top box manufacturers Linksys-KiSS, Motorola Inc., Scientific-Atlanta Inc., Tatung Co. and The Thomson Corp. confirmed support for the Microsoft TV platform with a range of set top boxes.

For instance , Scientific-Atlanta said it would support the Microsoft IPTV suite in a range of boxes under development , targeting both the U.S. NTSC market and the European PAL format.

Network operators including British Telecom, Swisscom AG and SBC Communications Inc. welcomed Microsoft's announcements as a much-needed development to help support their IPTV strategies.

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