At last week's MIPTV, a new service was announced by Red Bee Media and Netgem that aims to integrate the latest TV technologies and enable consumers to receive a wider range of content and interactive services.
Combining Red Bee Media's Digital Hive technologies, Netgem's HD-Ready devices and Microsoft's Windows Media Technologies, this new service will permit consumers to access digital television and downloaded on-demand programming via a single digital hybrid set-top box (DTT/IPTV). Programming content will be encoded in the Windows Media Video Format (VC-1) and protected by Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10. The service should be available in the UK by late summer 2006. No pricing has yet been fixed.
The package will involve the use of a Netgem integrated (DTT/IPTV) set-top box and deliver the following services: access to all Freeview channels; navigation interface for downloaded video and audio content; electronic programme guide (EPG) and interactive programme guide (IPG); the ability to pause Live TV, local recordings and playback in HD; broadband connectivity and home networking (using Windows Media Connect) 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 Erik Huggers, senior director of Windows Digital Media at Microsoft Corp. "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."
"The end-to-end solution we are building with Microsoft and Red Bee Media will enable any UK ISP to offer an innovative integrated live TV and video on demand service to its customer base without extensive infrastructure investment, thanks to our hybrid digital set-top box design and network software", added Joseph Haddad, Netgem's CEO.