Microsoft and CableLabs Enable HD Programming on Windows PCs

Future Versions of Media Center PCs to Receive Digital Cable Programming

(November 16, 2005)


Microsoft Corp. and Cable Television Laboratories Inc. announced they have reached an agreement that will allow Microsoft and PC manufacturers to bring to market digital -cable -ready Windows(R) Media Center -based PCs in the holiday 2006 time frame.

These Media Center PCs, capable of supporting a CableCARD module, will allow consumers to enjoy one -way cable programming, including premium high -definition cable content, on their personal computer and throughout the home on compliant network -connected devices, such as Xbox 360, while protecting cable operators' investments in high -value content in a digital environment. Microsoft is working closely with CableLabs to document final approval of Windows Media(R) Digital Rights Management (DRM) as a content protection technology for OpenCable(TM) products that receive one -way cable content under the terms of this agreement.

The agreement is the culmination of more than two years of extensive evaluation and technical reviews performed by the two entities under the CableLabs OpenCable process to develop specifications and test suites for the new solution.

The specified OpenCable architecture allows for multiple DRM systems to be used in the device and ensures content providers of protected delivery of content to the PC. Microsoft(R) Windows Media Digital Rights Management is the first major DRM system to complete the due diligence necessary for approval by CableLabs.

The OpenCable project will continue to play an important role as the new agreement moves forward, allowing the cable industry to work closely with the consumer electronics and IT industries to innovate rapidly on the new specifications developed by Microsoft and CableLabs.

CableLabs will host interoperability events to enable vendors working on products based on these specifications to test products in CableLabs facilities and conduct more formalized certification testing. More information about the OpenCable project is available at http://www.opencable.com.

Media Center PCs deliver advanced computing and easy -to -use integrated digital entertainment experiences. To date, Microsoft has sold more than 4 million Windows XP Media Center Edition licenses, and more than 130 PC manufacturers are offering Media Center PCs around the world. The cable industry supports more than 370 models of digital televisions manufactured by 22 companies that display one -way cable content via CableCARDs.

About CableLabs
Founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry, Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) is a non -profit research and development consortium that is dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping its cable operator members integrate those technical advancements into their business objectives.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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