Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV Is Way Better Than Cable or Satellite

Microsoft's Mediaroom is the company's IPTV solution that brings TV into to your house (much like cable and satellite) over the internets. You might be familiar with it in its commercially released service forms such as AT&T U-Verse here in the US or BT Fusion in the UK. The features out now—quick channel changing, multiple channel records simultaneously without a hardware (CableCard) limit, multi-room viewing, multiple picture-in-picture—are pretty fantastic, but we had a visit with Microsoft earlier this week and learned that what's coming soon is even better.

First, let's go over the features that Mediaroom offers now. With a simple set-top-box, you can grab high quality HDTV that's better quality (seeing as Comcast has been compressing their HDTV shows like mad) than what you'd otherwise get on cable. If you've got two set-top-boxes, you can stream shows off of each other so you don't have to record a program twice to be able to watch it in your living room and bedroom. You can even watch the same TV broadcast or recorded shows on your Windows PC or Xbox 360, a feature that's been announced since CES by Microsoft, but is up to the actual service provider (AT&T, BT) to roll out. In AT&T's case, it won't be available until the second-half of 2008.

This leads us to the new feature Microsoft showed off: Applications. Since IPTV is a two-way street, your Mediaroom set-top-boxes are able to pull down information from the net, leading to very interesting interactive programs that people can code up for shows.

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