Friday, May 30, 2008

Microsoft Releases Beta ADK for Mediaroom

Microsoft has released the beta version of its Microsoft Mediaroom Presentation Framework Application Development Kit (ADK) to nearly 150 companies globally. These companies included content providers, applications developers, as well as its service provider customers including ATT and BT.

This ADK is intended to provide service providers, content providers, and applications developers with the ability to create interactive programming and applications that enhance the basic capabilities of Mediaroom.

I met with Microsoft in Mountain View yesterday to get an idea of what this meant. They demonstrated three demos that were created for CES in January that were based on this ADK:
  • NASCAR application that gives the viewer the ability to select the specific in car camera displayed in a window on the screen and the driver audio that he or she would like to view or hear. It also provides access to information about the race, previous races, and the drivers that can also be displayed on the TV. These displays brings content that is already available on the web to the TV screen.
  • A boxing application that permits the user to select the microphone audio to be played on the TV. It provides audio from four microphones. All four audio tracks are recorded on the DVR when the program is broadcast and may be selected during later playback.
  • A TV based social networking application that permits to set up and join groups. Group members can communicate with each other using text entered via the remote control. It is possible to find out who in a group is watching the show you are watching in order to chat about it.
Microsoft stated that it is working closely with the companies in the beta program and are using ideas that come back from this group to decide how to enhance this ADK. It has found that this group often comes up with good ideas that it had not thought of itself.

This kind of application capability is a good answer to what IPTV does better than cable (or satellite). Of course Microsoft and its service provider customers will have to work hard to stay ahead of the U.S. cable companies. It could also be used to enhance the advertising experience as well as the programming itself.

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