CES 2009 - Microsoft Mediaroom rewinds time

LAS VEGAS - Microsoft has had a lot going on in its enormous multi-level booth at CES 2009, as gamers, Windows fans, and telco officials have visited to see the latest from Microsoft Mediaroom. The software giant did not disappoint its IPTV constituency, demonstrating its new Mediaroom Anytime feature that allows subscribers more control over programming, including shows they have missed and did not schedule their DVRs to record. Mediaroom Anytime allows them to go back and access those shows regardless, with complete DVR-like control.

SingTel of Singapore is the first IPTV service provider to test Mediaroom Anytime, with the intent to make it generally available later this year. Microsoft officials were not sure when major customer AT&T might add the capability, though it will be interesting to see if content companies in the U.S. have anything to say about the matter. The service is similar to the remote storage or network-DVR capabilities that have drawn controversy among content firms and major studios.

Paula Reinman, director of marketing for Microsoft Mediaroom, also said that the number of subscribers using Mediaroom capabilities recently hit 2.5 million.

In other observations, a Microsoft Xbox system was in the same room where the company conducted its Mediaroom Anytime demonstration for FierceIPTV. The placement was not necessarily ironic, but was enough to remind one of the success that Microsoft has been having with its Xbox Live on-demand content service. Company officials noted during Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's CES 2009 keynote Wednesday night that Xbox Live users had spent $1 billion thus far on Xbox Live content such as movies from Netflix. That might make Microsoft's telco customers a little nervous, even if they can enable subscribers to go back in time.

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Light Reading covered the Ballmer keynote

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