Comcast deal gives Microsoft entry into cable TV


Staff member
Looks like Tivo has some competition now:

Comcast is giving Microsoft something the software giant has struggled to get on its own: an easy way to expand from the desktop computer to the home-entertainment center.

The two companies announced yesterday that on Monday they will begin offering Microsoft's cable-television software to Comcast customers in Washington state, although it will be months before the rollout is complete. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

For Microsoft, the partnership is significant. The Washington deal is the first large-scale deployment in the United States of its TV Foundation Edition software, which includes an interactive channel guide and a set of digital-cable tools that let cable operators upgrade services without swapping out set-top boxes. Up to now, only two small cable operators in Oregon were using the Foundation software.

Comcast also said that on Monday it will launch new cable boxes in Washington equipped with a dual-tuner digital video-recording system, which allows a user to pause and rewind live television broadcasts and record programs. Those boxes also run on Microsoft's software.

Those who want to use Comcast's digital video recorder can begin doing so Monday, although they must switch to new Motorola set-top boxes that can handle the service. They will have to pay an extra monthly fee as well — $5 for high-definition cable customers and $10 for digital-cable customers.

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