Paramesh Gunasekaran

Microsoft Mediaroom Platform

Overview

AT&T and HSN are partnering up to roll-out shopping experience on television using Microsoft Mediaroom platform for AT&T Set-top boxes, Cisco and Motorola models.

What is AT&T U-verse?

U-verse or AT&T U-verse is a brand of triple-play telecommunications services in 22 U.S. states. Launched June 26, 2006, U-verse includes broadband Internet, IP telephone, and IPTV services. U-verse uses a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) or fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) communications network, which uses fiber-optic connections to boxes either within a neighborhood or at each home’s network interface device. High-speed digital subscriber lines with ADSL2+ or VDSL technology connect from FTTN nodes to the customers’ premises. U-verse TV is delivered via IPTV from the headend to the consumer’s receiver, required for each TV. Transmissions use digital H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) encoding, compared to the existing deployments of MPEG-2 codec and the discontinued analog cable TV system. The receiver box does not have a RF tuner, but is an IP multicast client which requests the channel or “stream” desired. U-Verse TV supports up to 4 active streams at once. The system uses individual unicasts for video on demand, central time shifting, start-over services and other programs.

What is Microsoft Mediaroom?

Microsoft Mediaroom is an end-to-end IPTV platform by Microsoft. Microsoft Mediaroom is a full-featured video platform for operators to deliver an IPTV-based pay-TV subscription services including content-protected live, DVR, video on demand, and applications. These services can be delivered to the consumers on a range of devices inside and outside the home, including wired and WiFi set top boxes, Xbox 360, PCs, tablets, smartphones and other connected devices ? over both operator?s managed IP networks as well as Over The Top (OTT) or unmanaged networks.

HSN Shop by Remote (SbR) as the name suggests, is an shopping experience infused with television experience by applications running on connected internet-enabled televisions or set-top boxes. It?s safe, secure, fast and easy and available 24/7 from many top TV providers. When watching HSN channel on television customers can simply use the remote control to purchase items. They can choose size, color and quantity just as if they were shopping online or on the phone. And they have the opportunity to review their selections before making a final decision to buy. Customers purchases are charged to the current credit card on their HSN account.

Design & Architecture

The Microsoft Mediaroom Presentation Framework (PF) included with the Microsoft Mediaroom 2.0 client and Microsoft Mediaroom Application Development Kit(ADK) 3.0 releases is an open platform that enables developers to build differentiated TV applications that extend and augment the Microsoft Mediaroom TV experience. With Microsoft Mediaroom and the Microsoft Mediaroom PF, TVs can now be as connected as PCs to messaging, social networking, program fan sites, sports sites, and dozens of other services, taking the subscriber?s experience of TV to whole new level.

The Microsoft Mediaroom PF represents the natural evolution of the IPTV application platform. It delivers the building blocks necessary for creating innovative, robust, and intuitive user experiences for TV. Service providers and third party partners can build exciting applications quickly and easily using Web services to incorporate streaming Web video, RSS and other data feeds, and many other elements. This content can be blended with the existing core user interface as well as broadcast, on-demand, or digitally recorded video streams. Service providers and third party developers can create applications that integrate seamlessly with the underlying content and interface, or they can create applications that overlay or replace video. Either way, a service provider can deploy Microsoft Mediaroom PF applications without having to update either Microsoft Mediaroom servers or clients. Indeed, other than a Microsoft Mediaroom compliant set-top box, no special hardware or chipsets are required in a client device for a subscriber to experience a Microsoft Mediaroom PF-based application. Microsoft Mediaroom PF applications can run on the servers where the pertinent data and content resides or they can make remote calls to external servers to deliver content to viewers. Microsoft Mediaroom PF applications can mash up data from Microsoft Mediaroom clients and servers, the Internet, and private data sources?all in a single application environment?to enable a rich and differentiating experience for subscribers.

Microsoft Mediaroom PF applications are essentially ASP.NET applications. As such, they can build upon your existing development and deployment processes and enable the development of new applications at Web speed. Developers can create client applications using the Microsoft Visual Studio Designer and host the applications on Web servers running Internet Information Services. Because developers are using ASP.NET controls on the servers,there is no need to burn code into the client.Developers can also use all of the ASP.NET configuration, performance, debugging, and deployment features.

Developers can create Microsoft Mediaroom PF applications using Visual Studio, and they can do so in a manner that will be familiar to anyone who has developed standard ASP.NET applications. The Microsoft Mediaroom ADK installs the Microsoft Mediaroom PF controls inside the Visual Studio toolbox and a developer uses the controls to visually or programmatically build the application elements and connects to events, data sources, and actions. Microsoft Mediaroom PF controls encapsulate code that enables them to bind to data sources, to serve as data sources themselves, to generate events, and to serve as the target of actions. For example, the data binding features enable a developer to create a Microsoft Mediaroom PF application that dynamically updates images from a source.

ASP.NET helps developers place the business logic of a Microsoft Mediaroom PF application on the server. Due to the data binding and event generation abilities of the ADK controls, the ASP.NET model also makes it possible to eliminate the need for custom code on the client and still produce applications with a native look and feel. This code separation leads to simpler application development and a more stable client. The same business logic can also power other versions of the application interface?for example, on Web browsers or mobile phones.identified in an external Web site. The application could update selected text blocks at a specified frequency, and even update the information in a list based on the result of a Web service call. Developers can bind events to specific actions (clicked keys or pressed buttons), timers, and many other occurrences. Because the controls in the ADK rely on the same framework that renders the core Microsoft Mediaroom user interface, Microsoft Mediaroom PF applications can work easily with multiple video streams, transparent overlays, and animation, which gives viewers the same high levels of performance and responsiveness that they associate with the broader Microsoft Mediaroom experience.