Leading Set-Top-Box Chip Makers Embrace Windows Media 9 Series

9/16/2002 - Microsoft announced that the leading manufacturers of chips for set-top boxes and next-generation digital media appliances have announced support for Windows Media (TM) 9 Series. Manufacturers announcing support for Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series today include Equator Technologies, National Semiconductor, Sigma Designs, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments. This announcement, on the heels of the Windows Media 9 Series launch last week, paves the way for manufacturers such as Pace Micro Technology PLC to create set-top boxes with tremendous digital media processing power at a low cost while at the same time offering consumers new high-quality content delivery services over satellite, DSL and cable modems.

"Windows Media 9 Series is a significant step forward in the evolution of digital television, especially for telcos and broadband network operators that deliver more content and services than ever," said Tim Fern, chief technology officer at Pace Micro Technology. "Advanced silicon supporting Windows Media 9 Series has been important to our development of the world's first Windows Media 9 Series capable set-top box, which will be on show at IBC2002. Not only has it helped us make product costs viable, it has reduced our time to market — crucial factors for our telco and operator customers."

Also at IBC2002, several companies will demonstrate for the first time how Windows Media 9 Series can be decoded and encoded at the chip level. Equator will be the first company to demonstrate high-definition video decoding of Windows Media at 720p (1280x720) on a chip — video resolution that is two and a half times the resolution of a DVD today. Texas Instruments will be the first company to demonstrate encoding of Windows Media Video 9 directly on a chip. These breakthroughs in using Windows Media 9 Series video technology at the chip level will open up new consumer possibilities for next-generation set-top boxes delivering services directly over IP-based networks, new applications for encoding Windows Media Video and new consumer electronics devices. Windows Media Video 9 Series will offer significant advantages by allowing TV programming to be recorded in the same quality as MPEG-2 technology but tripling the storage capacity with its superior video compression.

"Offering Windows Media 9 Series support at the chip level was the next logical step in our vision to enable seamless access to digital media content any time, any place and on any device," said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows® Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "The breadth of support today shows that Windows Media 9 Series can flexibly offer the best quality audio and video at any bit rate and, by locking the video bit stream for silicon, create new opportunities for network operators, chip makers and consumer electronics device manufacturers."

Leading manufacturers of chips for set-top boxes that support Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series announced today at IBC2002 include the following:

About Windows Media
Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The new Windows Media 9 Series will power the next wave of digital media, delivering the best playback experience, unmatched audio and video quality, and integrated optional digital rights management technology, and is the most comprehensive platform for developing digital media products and services. The Windows Media platform includes Windows Media Player; Windows Media Services, the powerful streaming server for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video for the best-quality audio and video; Windows Media DRM for protecting content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing and now leading media player.

About Microsoft (www.microsoft.com)
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows Media and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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