Tuesday, November 16, 2004

SBC Selects Microsoft for IPTV

SBC Communications selected the new Microsoft IPTV Edition software platform for its Project Lightspeed initiative. The deal, which is valued at $400 million over 10 years, is the first of its kind for any U.S.-based telecommunications provider.

msiptv.jpg" align="left">SBC Labs has been testing an IP-based television service built on the Microsoft TV IPTV Edition platform since June 2004. SBC companies and Microsoft will begin field trials in mid 2005 and plan commercial availability of the IP-based television platform in late 2005.

Microsoft said its platform will provide strong security features and efficiency in delivering standard and high-definition TV programming to multiple TV sets in the home. The IP-based TV service is planned to include instant channel changing, customizable channel lineups, video on demand, digital video recording, multimedia interactive program guides, event notifications, content protection features, etc. The IP services may be accessed and shared via any number of IP-enabled household devices, such as TVs, set-top boxes, PCs, PDAs or phones. It will include end-to-end digital rights management technology to protect the content across multiple devices.

"Project Lightspeed and the Microsoft and SBC relationship underscore what the future holds for consumers: a virtually unlimited opportunity for innovative, cross-device services and entertainment experiences enabled by the marriage of powerful broadband networks with the magic of software," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. http://www.sbc.comhttp://www.microsoft.com/tv

  • Earlier this month, SBC Communications outlined operational and financial details on Project Lightspeed, its plan to deploy IPTV and other advanced residential services over an upgraded fiber access infrastructure. In a conference call to investors and the media, SBC executives said Project Lightspeed would not be "a me-too undertaking" but would radically transform the market by delivering an integrated "Digital Lifestyle." The company believes its can achieve a true competitive advantage by tightly integrating IP voice, data, video and its Cingular wireless services. SBC is setting an aggressive rollout schedule. Project Lightspeed will include both FTTN and FTTP deployments. Lab and field trials are currently underway and network construction is scheduled to begin in Q1 2005. Commercial launch of IPTV services is slated for Q4 2005. SBC is aiming to reach some 90% of its "high-value" residential customers by 2007 -- about 18 million households.

  • SBC's video network architecture will include 2 national "Super Head Ends" where national content will be aggregated and VOD encoding will occur. SBC will build 40 Regional Video Hub Offices, which will provide video content storage, time-shifted TV and interactive applications. Local content aggregation will also occur in the Regional Video Hub Offices. The SBC video network architecture will also have a large number (about 140) Video Serving Offices for local distribution.


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