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CES 2009: Microsoft Adds Network DVR To IPTV Platform

Las Vegas -- Microsoft is adding a network-based DVR feature to its Mediaroom IPTV platform that will let subscribers “rewind” programs that are currently airing and watch them from the beginning -- akin to Time Warner Cable’s popular Start Over service. 

(Click here for MCN's complete CES coverage.)

The network DVR feature, Restart Anytime, lets viewers access previously aired shows directly from the interactive program guide or immediately restart currently airing shows without having to schedule a DVR recording. 

Two related new features in Mediaroom are Live Anytime, providing video-on-demand access from the IPG to watch previously aired programs; and Download Anytime, which loads VOD content to set-top boxes for later viewing “regardless of bandwidth constraints,” Microsoft said.

The software giant’s Mediaroom IPTV platform is used by AT&T U-verse TV and other telco services around the world, which collectively service about 2.5 million subscriber homes.

Singapore’s SingTel plans to trial the Restart Anytime and Live Anytime features and aims to offer the service to its TV subscribers in 2009. “The ever-evolving Mediaroom platform and the new Anytime features allow us to continue delivering enhanced value and a truly immersive TV viewing experience to our customers,” SingTel director of IPTV Low Ka Hoe said, in a statement.

Also here at CES, Microsoft is showing off several concept IPTV applications, including:

* An application for BBC Worldwide’s Top Gear that lets fans access content from and download episodes (pictured, right);

* An application built by Turner Sports and the PGA that lets viewers switch dynamically between camera feeds, watch golfing instructional videos and click from static to video advertisements; 

* TV Dashboard, designed and created by ES3, which displays local news and information;

* Associated Press built two concept applications: an automated news ticker widget that delivers headlines directly through the TV Dashboard, and a celebrity news application featuring up-to-the-minute information, photos and video clips from the red-carpet events.

* Visual Voicemail, which lets TV users check their voicemail and play back messages; and

* A media-sharing feature that lets viewers upload photos and videos to the Web and view them on the TV.