Microsoft Launches New Worldwide Platform for Broadcast TV on the PC

Leading tuner and
chipset providers announce support for new Microsoft platform.

Netherlands — Sept. 12, 2008
— Today at IBC2008, Microsoft Corp. announced
it has delivered in the marketplace Protected Broadcast Driver Architecture
(PBDA), Microsoft’s new worldwide platform for broadcast TV on the PC. Made
possible by the recent release of Windows Media Center TV Pack, the platform
for the first time enables the PC-TV hardware ecosystem to integrate virtually
any free or premium TV service into Windows Media Center, while satisfying the
TV industry’s requirements for strong content protection in the case of pay TV.
Among the leading companies rallying behind PBDA at the show are AVerMedia
Inc., Buffalo, Hauppauge Computer Works Inc., I-O Data Device Inc., NEC
Electronics Corp., NXP Semiconductors and ViXS Systems Inc. — all playing a
critical role in driving the forward momentum for PBDA adoption.

The PBDA platform enhances and supersedes the existing
Broadcast Driver Architecture (BDA), which has been Microsoft’s standard for
digital video capture on Windows operating systems for many years. Now, PC OEMs
and tuner-makers no longer need to rely heavily on Microsoft to specifically
enable and support the ability to output broadcast services on a one-off basis;
they can develop and ship TV tuners for Windows Media Center to target a
broader set of TV standards and markets. For broadcast service providers, the
flexibility of one consistent platform that supports multiple TV standards
specifically for protected content opens the door for more consumer options to
be made available.

“For the first time, we’re enabling those in the PC-TV
community to build tuners and integrate almost any broadcast service into
Windows Media Center themselves regardless of geographic location or television
standard — we’ve removed a major roadblock by delivering one consistent
platform for the industry,” said Geoff Robertson, general manager for Windows
Media Center at Microsoft. “The tremendous response we’re already seeing for
the platform means PC OEMs, broadcast service providers and tuner-makers can
now collaborate and embrace the PC as a first-class citizen for delivering more
high-quality free or pay content to consumers in their local markets. This is a
major milestone for us and our partners as we continue our efforts to deliver
the highest-quality, personalized TV-watching experiences available to people

The momentum behind this new platform from Microsoft is
already being evidenced by the launch of PBDA-based tuner solutions in Japan,
Germany and the U.K., including Hauppauge’s first-ever Freeview-certified PC-TV
tuner solution and AVerMedia’s tuner solution for protected digital terrestrial
television in Japan.

In addition, leading chipset providers NEC Electronics, NXP
and ViXS Systems are announcing that they have all completed their
implementations of PBDA and are now ready to support their PC-TV tuner partners
in taking PBDA-based solutions to multiple markets around the world.

“We are excited to be a launch partner for Microsoft’s PBDA
platform,” said Allan Yang, Ph.D., president of AVerMedia. “PBDA has enabled us
to quickly and cost-effectively bring to market A320, a PC-TV tuner solution
for Windows Media Center that meets the Japanese broadcasting industry’s
requirements for strong content protection. The resulting system performance
delivers a surprisingly responsive user experience, and the response from our
customers, who are some of the most demanding PC OEMs in Japan, has been
phenomenal. We are looking forward to building on the very successful launch of
our PBDA-based solution beyond Japan.”

“Microsoft’s new digital TV software architecture, PBDA,
enabled Hauppauge to deliver the first-ever Freeview-certified TV tuner for
PCs,” said Ken Potkin, CEO of Hauppauge. “We look forward to 2009, when PBDA
will allow us to deliver advanced digital PC-TV tuner products, including PC
solutions for pay TV.”

“The extended capabilities, which Microsoft’s worldwide PBDA
platform for pay TV and free-to-air TV brings to Windows Media Center, mirror
NXP’s commitment to power the TV-viewing experience by enabling access to more
content with ever better picture quality anytime, anywhere, in the home and on
the go,” said Bert van de Wakker, general manager, PC Systems, NXP
Semiconductors. “Specifically, PBDA support combined with our new-generation
three-in-one PCTV SOC SAA7231 product line, enables PC OEMs to offer 30 million
European households the ability to record and view hundreds of free-to-air
digital satellite channels on their PC, complementing SAA7231DE’s established
DVB-T, analog terrestrial and cable support. In addition, PBDA has enabled us
to provide a highly integrated, secure and cost-effective solution for
protected digital terrestrial television in Japan using our secure Integrated
Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB)-analog reception, SAA7164E SOC.”

The PBDA platform is a key component of the Windows Media
Center TV Pack, an update released to OEMs worldwide on July 16, 2008, with
targeted optimizations for Europe in particular. Some of the other features of
this update include native Windows Media Center experiences for digital
terrestrial television in Japan (based on the Integrated Services Digital
Television-Terrestrial standard), free-to-air satellites services in Europe
(based on the Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite standard), improved guide
and playback experience, great personal video recorder auto-extend support, and
the flexibility of support for multiple TV standards.

Windows Media Center TV Pack will be demonstrated at IBC2008
at the Microsoft stand in the Topaz Lounge. Visitors to the stand will have the
opportunity to experience the latest Windows Media Center functionality
delivered in combination with some of the latest PBDA-based tuner products from

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide
leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses
realize their full potential.

6 thoughts on “Microsoft Launches New Worldwide Platform for Broadcast TV on the PC

  1. Interesting. I wonder if this will allow DirecTV support without requiring Windows 7 after all? Not holding my breath though.

  2. The holdup likely has little to nothing to do with DRM. And no, you are not seeing any new features like this until Windows 7.

  3. Chris, why do you say this wouldn’t allow DirecTV? I read this as providers now just need to develop a PBDA driver for MCE support. Couldn’t the HDPC-20 have been developed with a PBDA driver?

  4. PBDA has been in development for years (suppose to ship with Vista), it isn’t “new” per say.

    The functionality for DIRECTV to work in Media Center will not be added until the next Media Center feature release (Windows 7).

  5. @chrisl

    What does this mean for the United States and premium cable? From what I can tell, not a whole lot… Any word?


  6. This title is kind of misleading, MS has never supported broadcast HD in Canada. There was a hack that worked on MCE 2005 and VMC but MS disabled that with the TV Pack. Canadians are worse off when it comes to broadcast TV in the current environment than they were in 2005.

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