Microsoft Corp. ‘s Microsoft TV division has gained a significant foothold in the United States, announcing that Bell operator BellSouth Corp. will stage a technical trial of its Internet Protocol Television Edition software.
The trial will harness BellSouth’s digital subscriber line connections and supply a video offering starting some time in the first half of this year. BellSouth is now finishing up testing of the IPTV hardware and software in its labs.
It’s an important win for Microsoft TV, which has gained some traction overseas and is trying to make inroads in the U.S. market. For BellSouth, it is part of a plan to eventually offer television service via its own network, be it copper or through an accelerating fiber-to-the-home network plan. At present, BellSouth has a deal with DirecTV Inc. to co-market satellite TV service in a bundle along with the telco’s Internet and voice products.
“IPTV places customers in the driver’s seat and gives them complete control of their entertainment experience, regardless of the media format or which device within their home they wish to use,” said BellSouth chief technology officer Bill Smith, in a release. “We’re bringing together the benefits of broadband, the rapid adoption of home networking technology and the magic of software to give customers content where, when and how they want it.”
Elsewhere in IP video, Broadcom Corp. rolled out a new reference design for IP set-top boxes based on the H.264 advanced video codec. The H.264/MPEG-4 codec promises to cut the bandwidth needed to deliver MPEG-2 video from about 2 Megabits per second to less than 1 Mbps, allowing for more channels to fit in an IP video pipe.
Available now, the Broadcom BCM97318 reference design includes the BCM7318 single-chip IP set-top box decoder and the Broadcom BCM7411 AVC video decoder/audio processor chip.