Microsoft Joins Mobile DTV Alliance to Help Accelerate DVB-H Deployment in North America

Microsoft
Announces Participation in Mobile DTV Alliance to Help Accelerate DVB-H
Deployment in North America
| Microsoft Corp. today announced its
participation as a founding member of the Mobile DTV Alliance, a new
organization created to promote the growth and evolution of the open standard
for broadcast digital TV on mobile devices, Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld
(DVB-H). Microsoft joins a distinguished group of mobile industry leaders
including Intel Corporation, Modeo LLC, Motorola Inc., Nokia and Texas
Instruments Inc. (TI). As part of the Mobile DTV Alliance, Microsoft will help
promote DVB-H best practices for delivery of premium-quality broadcast media to
mobile devices for the North American market.

“Demand for over-the-air delivery of digital entertainment to mobile devices
is driving the need for broadly supported mobile broadcast technologies like
DVB-H,” said Pat Griffis, senior director of Windows Digital Media at Microsoft
and Microsoft’s board member in the alliance. “By combining our respective
industry expertise, Microsoft and fellow founding members of the Mobile DTV
Alliance will help make DVB-H-powered mobile TV a reality for consumers.”

“Microsoft joined at the formation of the alliance, rounding out our
participation at every level of the wireless ecosystem. We are pleased to be
able to announce its participation as a founding member,” said Yoram Solomon,
president of the Mobile DTV Alliance and director of strategic marketing and
industry relations for the Mobile Connectivity Solutions business at TI. “The
Mobile DTV Alliance provides an open ecosystem for the mobile digital TV marketplace,
greatly increasing revenue opportunities, innovation and services to
consumers.”

DVB-H technologies enable consumers to receive live TV-like experiences
directly on their mobile handset and other DVB-H-based devices. In addition,
operators will benefit from increased revenue opportunities while preserving
cellular network bandwidth for voice and other data services.

“Microsoft’s participation in the Mobile DTV Alliance as a founding member
will accelerate the introduction of mobile digital television based on DVB-H
into cell phones, PDAs, laptops and portable media players,” said Michael
Schueppert, president of Modeo.

Mobile-optimized Microsoft Windows Media technologies from Microsoft — such
as Windows Media Audio Professional, Windows Media Digital Rights Management
(DRM) and Windows Media Video (Microsoft’s implementation of VC-1) — have
already been successfully deployed for use in mobile broadcast solutions,
including Modeo’s pilot of its DVB-H mobile broadcast network last year. By
participating in the Mobile DTV Alliance, Microsoft will collaborate with
industry leaders on best practices both with handsets and services, further
advancing Windows Media-enabled solutions for DVB-H and helping deliver
comprehensive video broadcast offerings for mobile operators.

Additional information about the Mobile DTV Alliance can be found at http://www.mdtvalliance.org.

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Media Center Available via Retail Channel! Who Cares?

Windows
Media Center Available via Retail Channel
| Charlie Owen points out that
with the official
Windows Vista Product Lineup
that you will finally be able to buy Media Center
in a retail market.  Charlie says “Windows
Media Center
is coming to a store shelf near you”
, but will it even matter?

Jim
Allchin
says that PC’s using CableCARD will have to be submitted and tested
through CableLabs.  So, a retail version
of Media Center doesn’t get you CableCARD if Jim
is correct.  ATI and
AnandTech
have pointed the other way, saying “The PC is not certified by
CableLabs in any way, instead MS publishes a minimum system configuration and
the system has to meet these specs in order to be sold with the OCUR device.” 
Details
on the DirecTV
deal
have yet to be seen.

I already
covered HD DVD/Blu-ray
hardware
, and today I’ll add some information about why PCI Express with  PVP-UAB
in Vista will most likely be needed.   AACS says “Within
a Licensed Product, the video portion of Decrypted AACS Content shall not be
present on any User-Accessible Bus in analog or unencrypted, compressed form.”
  That sure sounds like PVP-UAB
will need to be ready.  I would expect
CableCARD and DirecTV to also make use of it, as it is easy to get anything off of the current PCI bus.

It
would be very nice if Microsoft would release the details of what’s really
needed for CableCARD PC’s.  Will I be
able to build one or not?  Does Media Center
via retail matter any more?

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Microsoft Unveils Windows Vista Product Lineup

Microsoft
Unveils Windows Vista Product Lineup
| Microsoft Corp. today announced the product lineup of its upcoming Windows
Vista operating system. Scheduled for release later this year, the Microsoft
Windows Vista product lineup will bring clarity to customers’ digital world by
helping them easily accomplish everyday tasks, instantly find what they want,
enjoy the latest in entertainment, improve the safety of their personal
information, stay connected at home or on the go, and help ensure PCs are
up-to-date, more secure and running smoothly.

The Windows Vista product lineup consists of six versions, two for
businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets: Windows Vista
Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista
Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Starter. The number of
offerings is the same as the number of offerings currently available for
Windows XP. More important, the lineup is designed to deliver clear
value to a broad range of customers, each product tailored to meet specific
needs of various segments of customers — home PC users, small and medium-sized
businesses and the largest enterprises — and is aimed at bringing 64-bit, Media
Center and Tablet PC functionality into the mainstream.

“We live in a digital world that is filled with more information, more
things to do and more ways to communicate with others than ever,” said Mike
Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management and Marketing
at Microsoft. “The PC needs to give people the clarity and confidence to handle
this ‘world of more’ so they can focus on what’s most important to them. With
our Windows Vista product line, we’ve streamlined and tailored our product
lineup to provide what our customers want for today’s computing needs.”

Windows Vista: Designed for Businesses
of All Sizes

Business customers can choose from two versions that are designed to meet
their needs, based on the size and scale of their organizations:

  • Windows Vista Business.
    Windows Vista Business is the operating system designed for organizations of
    all sizes. For small businesses, Windows Vista Business will help keep PCs
    running smoothly and more securely so they are less reliant on dedicated IT
    support. For larger organizations, Windows Vista Business will provide dramatic
    new infrastructure improvements that will enable IT staff to spend less time
    focused on day-to-day maintenance of PCs and more time on adding strategic
    value to the organization. These are some of the specific features of Windows
    Vista Business:
  • A new user interface, named Windows Aero™, is designed to
    deliver the most productive, highest-performing desktop experience possible.
    Windows Aero will provide a professional-looking, transparent glass design,
    with subtle effects such as dynamic reflections and smooth animations, along
    with Windows Flip and Flip 3D desktop navigation features.
  • In addition to these navigation improvements, Windows Vista
    Business makes it easier than ever to manage huge volumes of business
    documents. By integrating search throughout the operating system and providing
    new ways to organize files, Windows Vista Business helps business users quickly
    find exactly what they are looking for.
  • Windows Tablet PC technology provides built-in handwriting
    recognition and enables interaction with the PC with a digital pen or fingertip
    instead of a keyboard.
  • Windows Vista Enterprise. To better
    address the needs of large global organizations and those with highly complex
    IT infrastructures, Windows Vista Enterprise is designed to significantly lower
    IT costs and risk. In addition to all the features available in Windows Vista
    Business, Windows Vista Enterprise is designed to provide higher levels of data
    protection using hardware-based encryption technology. It will also include
    tools to improve application compatibility and will enable organizations to
    standardize on a single worldwide deployment image with the inclusion of all
    Windows user-interface languages. Windows Vista Enterprise will be available
    only to customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a
    Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. These are some of the specific Windows Vista
    Enterprise features.
  • Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption helps prevent sensitive
    data and intellectual property from falling into the wrong hands if a computer
    is lost or stolen.
  • Virtual PC Express is one of several built-in tools that
    improve application compatibility with previous versions of Microsoft operating
    systems. Virtual PC Express enables a legacy application to run unchanged on a
    legacy Windows operating system in a virtual environment on top of Windows
    Vista Enterprise.
  • Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications enables users to run
    UNIX applications unchanged on a Windows Vista Enterprise-based PC.

The new user interface Windows Aero is also available in
this edition of Windows Vista.

Windows Vista: Incredible New Experiences and Choices for the
Home PC User

 Consumers can choose from three versions that deliver
exciting new experiences for the home PC user:

  • Windows Vista Home
    Basic
    . Windows Vista Home Basic is a great choice for homes with basic
    computing needs. For consumers who want to simply use the PC to browse the
    Internet, correspond with friends and family through e-mail or perform basic
    document creation and editing tasks, Windows Vista Home Basic will deliver a
    safer, more reliable and more productive computing environment. It will provide
    new tools and technologies for making the PC more secure and enjoyable,
    including features such as a new Search Explorer, Sidebar and Parental
    Controls.
  • Windows Vista Home
    Premium.
    Windows Vista Home Premium will help consumers use mobile or
    desktop PC functionality more effectively while enabling the enjoyment of new,
    exciting digital entertainment experiences. Windows Vista
    Home Premium improves every aspect of digital entertainment experiences,
    including photos, video, TV, movies, music and games. Windows Vista Home
    Premium includes everything in Windows Vista Home Basic, along with additional
    features and enhancements such as the following:
  • The new user interface Windows Aero is also available in
    this edition of Windows Vista.
  • Windows Vista Home
    Premium integrates search throughout the operating system, helping
    customers easily organize and quickly find large collections of documents,
    pictures, movies, videos and music.
  • Windows Media Center capabilities turn the PC into an all-in-one
    home entertainment center. Consumers can use Media Center
    to record and watch TV shows (even high-definition TV) and access new kinds of
    online entertainment content. It also provides the ability to connect Windows
    Vista Home Premium to Xbox 360™, extending the Media Center experience to multiple rooms in the home.
  • Windows Tablet PC technology, which enables interaction
    with the PC with a digital pen or fingertip instead of a keyboard, is also
    available in this edition of Windows Vista.
  • Integrated DVD burning and authoring allows users to
    seamlessly burn personal videos photos and files to video or data DVDs, and
    easily create professional-looking DVDs from home movies that can be shared
    with family and friends.
  • Windows Vista Ultimate. Windows Vista Ultimate is the edition
    of Windows Vista that has it all. It is the first operating system that brings
    together all the entertainment features, mobility features and
    business-oriented features available in Windows Vista.

 All new versions are available for either 32-bit or 64-bit
systems, depending on the needs of the customer. Windows Vista Home Basic, Home
Premium, Ultimate and Business will be available as a full-packaged product at
retail and on new PCs. Windows Vista Enterprise will be offered only to
business customers participating in Microsoft’s Software Assurance program.

 Microsoft also will offer Windows Vista Starter in emerging
markets. Windows Vista Starter is designed to empower families and entry-level
PC users in these markets to experience the world of social and educational
benefits that personal computer technology and the Internet makes possible. A
32-bit operating system designed specifically for lower-cost computers, Windows
Vista Starter enables popular beginner PC activities and provides an
easy-to-use and more affordable entry point to the Windows Vista family of
products.

 “Windows Vista is going to be a significant release for all
Windows customers — including enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses as
well as consumers,” said Al Gillen, research director for System Software at
IDC. “Microsoft’s strategy to address different customer segments with versions
of Windows Vista optimized for their needs should be well received by these diverse
user segments.”

All versions of Windows Vista are scheduled to be broadly
available in the second half of 2006.

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