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Microsoft Announces ‘Windows Media 9’ Players

Microsoft Corp.'s push to make “Windows Media 9 Series” a television format is beginning to pick up steam.

The company announced at the opening of the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas that several media companies -- including Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Voom direct-broadcast satellite service and broadcaster U.S. Digital Television Inc. -- will use the format.

Microsoft said Voom will use Windows Media 9 as a compression technology to expand its HD lineup to more than 60 networks next year. "We are extremely impressed by the compression capabilities of the Windows Media 9 Series," said Bill Casamo, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Rainbow DBS, in a prepared statement.

USDTV is a digital-terrestrial broadcaster that plans to transmit Disney Channel, Toon Disney, ESPN, ESPN2, Discovery, The Learning Channel, Food Network, Home & Garden Television, Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Fox News Channel and Starz! in Windows Media 9.

Microsoft said Internet video-on-demand provider Akimbo Systems and Shanghai Broadcasting Lab will also use Windows Media 9 for transmission.

In other technology news, Scientific-Atlanta Inc. said Turner Network Television will use its “PowerVu” system for HD transmission.

PanAmSat Corp. announced “PASport,” an interconnection-satellite service that broadcasters and cable networks can use to transmit breaking news and live events from around the world.

And Conexant Systems Inc. announced that its “CX24430” set-top-box chip set will support Sony Electronics Corp.'s “Passage” technology.