Hybrid set-top box scheduled for summer

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Consumers will soon be able to access digital television and downloaded on-demand programming via a single digital hybrid set-top box, MipTV was told this week. A new service combining Red Bee Media's Digital Hive technologies, Netgem's advanced HD-ready devices and Microsoft's Windows Media applications was announced at the audiovisual trade show in Cannes.

The package is expected to be available in the UK by late summer. Its features will include access to all Freeview channels, navigation of downloaded content, electronic programme and interactive programme guides, pause-live TV, local recordings and playback in high-definition, and broadband connectivity and home networking to enable sharing between devices and PC.

"We are very excited about this first-rate interactive television service that takes full advantage of the capabilities of our Windows Media platform," said Microsoft's senior director of Windows Digital Media, Erik Huggers.

"Whether it be the ability to view content on-demand around the home, or on the go, consumers will benefit from the flexibility offered by our platform."

Netgem's CEO, Joseph Haddad, stressed the fact that ISPs will be able to avoid "extensive infrastructure investment" while still offering "innovative integrated live TV and video-on-demand" services to customers.

Pam Masters, chief executive of Red Bee Media, praised the "perfect collaboration" of Red Bee—formerly BBC Broadcast—"with Microsoft's digital rights management expertise and Netgem's consumer set-top box solutions".

Lovelace Consulting  |  07.04.2006

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