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Microsoft: Primary Video Consumption Still Likely via Traditional TV

Microsoft says the key to video's online future is universal access to high-speed broadband, but that the near future of video is still likely to be over traditional TV channels.

That is according to a copy of a summary of the prepared testimony of Microsoft exec Blair Westlake for Tuesday's (April 14) Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the migration of video to online platforms.

That issue is much on the minds of Washington policymakers these days as the FCC ponders the definition of "MVPD" (how over-the-top video distributors fit into that regulatory picture, for example). Netflix and YouTube draw millions of video viewers, and broadcasters battle Aereo TV, Barry Diller's online TV station distribution service (Diller is also a witness at the hearing), over what constitutes retransmission of a broadcast signal subject to FCC rules and copyright protections.

Westlake refers Microsoft's Xbox Live as one of the burgeoning new over-the-top (OTT) video service, saying the expansion of broadband has made that possible. He does not mention the current criticism of Comcast's policy of not counting Xfinity content accessed over those Xboxes toward its data caps.
Westlake says that consumers are likely to continue to get video "primarily" from cable, satellite and telco services -- he does not mention over-the-air broadcasting -- but also says that they are and will be less tied to linear programming.

Echoing witness Barry Diller's testimony, Westlake advises the committee to "monitor" developments in the space, but does not suggest the government needs to do anything more. "Some of us before the Committee today are evidence of the vibrancy of the over-the top video distribution marketplace in 2012," he says. "It bears emphasis that a hearing on video competition held only five years ago would have included almost no one on this panel."