Microsoft's next upgrade of its Mediaroom software will enable the fusion of live video and web streams to the TV. The "Milwaukee" upgrade is also promising improved personalization and recommendation options. On show at the IPTV World Forum last week the software is due to ship late summer. The major upgrade comes as operators rush to gain dominance as the critical home hub provider. At the same forum BT Vision announced it would be upgrading its service using the next generation Mediaroom platform
TiVo also announced a partnership with YouTube to enable the streaming of their massive library of user generated video to the TV using a new TiVo box. Apple earlier this year announced an upgrade for its Apple TV set top box which will also include the same ability to mix downloaded VOD content with streamed content from the Internet.
Remarkably there remains little consumer research on how audiences will use these fusion services, nor how best to structure the browser interface to optimize the consumer experience. Also uncertain is how consumers will respond to the inferior quality of online video when blown-up to a full wide-screen TV size.
YouTube has been recently experimenting with HD formats set for PC use. Last week YouTube also launched a white label API which enables publishers to embed video content using their own skin and specifications. The API threatens the many video providers that have grown by letting publishers manipulate their players. The service enables publishers and enterprises to effectively outsource the pain of video delivery to Google's robust video delivery infrastructure.
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