Microsoft’s Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) software, which powers phone companies’ video services, has hit its share of snags during its rollout to 10 service providers worldwide, including AT&T in the United States.
But now the software giant said it’s allowing third-party vendors to create applications and features for the software, which should spur development for the system, Microsoft said last week when it announced a series of new additions to the system at the telecom conference NXTcomm.
“Third parties can develop applications like fantasy sports or social networking type of applications that would run on the TV,” said Jim Brady, a Microsoft spokesman. “The pace of development is hastening. We are looking for third parties to come and innovate.”
Microsoft implemented other changes, too. The software now is called Microsoft Media Room rather than Microsoft IPTV Edition. The name change is designed to highlight the multimedia features of the new release, now available to service providers.
The updated version allows for media sharing between a PC and a TV, so users can show photos and videos from their computer on the TV.
In addition, the software allows for more user choice for the “picture-in-picture” feature. “If you like the Cartoon Network for your kid, but you’re a news junkie and you want to watch MSNBC and CNN in the picture-in-picture, you can choose,” Mr. Brady said. “It’s now available broadly in the platform.”
But analysts still expressed concern about Microsoft’s IPTV play. Few multichannel providers actually like Microsoft’s interactive TV products and U.S. deployments are still quite minimal, said Cynthia Brumfield, president of consultancy Emerging Media Dynamics.