China Gets First Taste of Anytime TV

Monday, January 12th, 2009 
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Guangzhou Digital Media Group launches the first Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV service in China; becomes the first cable operator worldwide to deploy Mediaroom services and the first Mediaroom customer to offer Mediaroom Anytime TV

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced that Guangzhou Digital Media Group has formally launched Zhujiang Digital, a connected TV service powered by the Microsoft Mediaroom Internet Protocol television (IPTV) platform. This is the first Mediaroom-enabled TV service to launch in China and the first time Mediaroom has been delivered over a cable network anywhere in the world.

The new service, available to residents in the Guangzhou region of China, also includes the first deployment of the Mediaroom Anytime feature set, which will take time-shifted TV to the next level in China. Announced at 2009 International CES, Mediaroom Anytime will let subscribers access previously aired shows from their Interactive Program Guide and immediately restart currently airing programs without any preplanning or prior digital video recording (DVR).

“This is an exciting moment for consumers in China and a significant milestone for Microsoft and the IPTV industry as Guangzhou Digital Media Group becomes the first deployment of the award-winning Mediaroom platform over a cable network,” said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Connected TV Business Group at Microsoft. “It also heralds the arrival of the latest in connected TV and the first Mediaroom-based service in China, enabling residents in the Guangzhou region to enjoy TV on their terms and watch the shows they want on their schedule.”

At a launch ceremony on Monday, Jan. 12 in Guangzhou City, presided over by Guan Zhijian, director-general of Guangzhou TV Station and chairman of Guangzhou Digital Media Group, attended by Microsoft’s Rodriguez, Guangzhou Digital Media Group outlined its plans for the new service, including a commitment to connect its total of 2.5 million subscribers within three to five years.

“With the launch of Zhujiang Digital Interactive TV service, the Guangzhou Digital Media Group is delivering a personalized and connected alternative to existing TV services,” Guan said. “Powered by the Microsoft Mediaroom platform, the new service will allow residents in Guangzhou to enjoy their TV when they want it, without missing a thing as well as rich interactivity.”

From launch, the Mediaroom-powered service will include the following key features:

  • High-definition content for live, recorded and on-demand TV
  • Mediaroom Anytime, which can be used to access previously aired shows from the Interactive Program Guide and immediately restart currently airing programs without any preplanning or prior DVR recording
  • Powerful video-on-demand features enabling users to view shows whenever they want

Guangzhou Digital Media Group also has taken advantage of the capability within Mediaroom for rich interactivity and the ability to seamlessly blend Web content and services with broadcast TV. The company has already engaged a number of local enterprises to develop interactive TV applications to complement the TV viewing experience. The applications being developed will enable Guangzhou Digital Media Group to offer its viewers new ways to communicate, share media and personalize the TV experience. Locally built TV applications that will be available at launch as part of the service include the following:

  • Local news Web sites on TV provide information from government Web sites displayed on TV.
  • Local sports and entertainment multimedia news lets viewers watch video clips, view pictures, vote on favorite shows and check text messages via the TV.
  • Local government e-mail service enables subscribers to view e-mails sent out by local government.
  • Information service allows subscribers to check their local social security information.
  • TV e-commerce permits customers to pay their phone bill or traffic tickets through the TV.

The Guangzhou Digital Media Group plans to use the new Mediaroom Presentation Framework to launch a number of other innovative applications in the future, including online shopping and the ability to search for local information such as the latest on restaurants, hotels, entertainment and traffic news.

Microsoft Mediaroom has a global customer base of service provider customers including AT&T, BT and Deutsche Telekom, delivering connected TV services to nearly 2.5 million subscriber homes worldwide.

Guangzhou Digital Media Group, formerly Guangzhou Radio and Television Network Limited, is the largest cable TV operator in Guangzhou City. Guangzhou Digital Media has about 2.5 million cable TV subscribers, with about 1 million broadcasting digital TV subscribers.