Thursday, February 21, 2008

France Telecom Launches Soft at Home

France Telecom's Orange, Thomson and Sagem Communications have formed a joint venture called Soft At Home to create a standard for the interconnection of multimedia equipment within in the home. Soft At Home planse to create services that make it possible to access photos stored on a computer on theTV, make a telephone call using the television remote control, or even simultaneously save multimedia content, wherever the digital equipment is located in the home.

Soft At Home will use the technologies and experiences of its founding shareholders. Its software solutions are being offered to telecommunications operators, third-party developers, OEMs and manufacturers. Thomson and Sagem Communications will be incorporating the Soft At Home software into their offerings. Soft At Home has a global development ambition, and is looking to rapidly welcome new partners into its capital.

The next generation of residential gateways and TV decoders that will be used by Orange in 2008 will be equipped with Soft At Home software. Orange already serves over 6 million Liveboxes and over 1 million subscribers for its IPTV package.

Thomson provides video decoders (cable, satellite, IP) and residential gateways (DSL and cable). Furthermore, the Group’s SmartVision IPTV middleware is now used by more than 40 serivce provicers offering IPTV and mobile TV services worldwide. This system currently supports over 1.2 million IPTV users today.

Sagem Communications provides IPTV set-top boxes with about twenty roll-outs, as well as triple play residential gateways.

This appear to be a move by France Telecom to increase the stature of the Thomson and Sagem IPTV systems that it uses to compete with Microsoft's Mediaroom. Microsoft is positioned today to dominate the market with its software. Additional service service provider support would help the three Soft at Home partners to justify the investment to enhance its system to maintain its competitiveness against Microsoft's Mediaroom.

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