Microsoft and CableLabs Announce Agreement to Enable High-Definition Digital Cable Programming on Windows-Based PCs

Future Versions of Media Center PCs to Receive Digital Cable Programming

Without the Need for a Cable Set-Top Box

Nov 16, 2005, 00:00 ET from Microsoft Corp.

     REDMOND, Wash. and LOUISVILLE, Colo., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
 Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:   MSFT) and Cable Television Laboratories Inc.
 (CableLabs(R)) today 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.
     (Logo: )
     These Media Center PCs, capable of supporting a CableCARD(TM) 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(TM), 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.
     "This agreement is an important milestone for our customers who want
 access to high-definition digital cable content on their PCs and a major step
 toward enabling a solution for the delivery of that content," said Joe
 Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft.
     "The cable industry is very interested in having the PC serve as another
 means to allow consumers to enjoy cable programming," said Richard R. Green,
 president and CEO of CableLabs. "By working with Microsoft and the IT
 industry, we have come up with a solution to enable consumers to enjoy the
 wide range of entertainment options they want."
     "This agreement carefully balances the need to preserve the flexibility of
 the personal computer for consumers with the need for cable operators to be
 confident that the hardware and software shipped with compliant Media Center
 PCs will function like a CableCARD-enabled digital television," said Glenn
 Britt, chairman of CableLabs and chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable.
     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
     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 .
     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 is the worldwide leader in software, services
 and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
     NOTE:  Microsoft, Windows, Xbox 360 and Windows Media are either
 registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States
 and/or other countries.
     CableLabs, CableCARD and OpenCable are trademarks of Cable Television
 Laboratories Inc.
     The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
 trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.