Microsoft UltimateTV Powers NASCAR Drivers

Innovative Television Service to Benefit Five NASCAR Drivers, Led by 2001

Daytona 500 Winner Michael Waltrip



Apr 28, 2001, 01:00 ET from Microsoft Corp.

    FONTANA, Calif., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
 today announced that five prominent NASCAR drivers and their crews will
 utilize the Microsoft(R) UltimateTV(R) service in their pit areas during the
 2001 NASCAR season. In a press conference at California Speedway this morning,
 defending Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, NASCAR veteran Kenny Wallace
 and future NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson, Hank Parker Jr. and Shawna Robinson
 were introduced as the UltimateTV team of drivers. These drivers will be
 looking for UltimateTV to provide a competitive edge at the racetrack and to
 serve as the ideal entertainment product for their homes. UltimateTV is the
 first and only service that integrates DIRECTV(R) programming with digital
 video recording, live TV controls, Internet access and enhanced television
 programming in one complete package.
     In motorsports, every one-hundredth of a second is critical, and every bit
 of insight and timely information has the potential to provide a competitive
 edge. By using UltimateTV in pre-race preparation and post-race evaluation,
 and as a real-time, in-race tool, Waltrip, Wallace, Johnson, Robinson and
 Parker hope to capitalize on the immediacy of information to evaluate race
 situations, make competitive decisions and execute on-track strategy more
 quickly than their opponents.
     "Our crew chief has the ability to easily replay the line that his driver
 is running on the track in slow motion and determine if the driver needs to
 change the line or if they need to be given other valuable information,"
 Waltrip said. "We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our team's
 applications of UltimateTV."
     "UltimateTV certainly enhances the fans' view of the race, but our team
 uses it as a tool of the trade to study other cars in slow motion during
 qualifying and practice to see if we can improve our performance," said
 Wallace. "When I come home from the race on Sunday, I can review our
 performance that day and make notes for our team meeting on Monday morning. In
 the heat of the race you might miss something important. Now I can move
 through the recorded action digitally and watch the segments that are
 important to me, the way I want to watch them."
     While developing the overall marketing program for the new UltimateTV
 service, Microsoft realized that most consumers don't understand what a
 digital video recorder (DVR) is or the benefits it can provide. With this in
 mind, Microsoft created an experiential program designed to educate consumers
 about the DVR category while showcasing the unique benefits of UltimateTV. The
 five-driver team will educate race fans and lead by example with its use of
 the UltimateTV service in competitive situations during the racing season.
     "Our presence at the NASCAR tracks and the relationships with these
 drivers offer a tremendous opportunity to educate millions of avid race fans
 about UltimateTV," said Bill Morgan, chief marketing officer for UltimateTV at
 Microsoft. "NASCAR is a sport based on technology. We believe UltimateTV can
 arm these drivers with more ammunition for success. In return, we are looking
 for the drivers, as the real motorsports experts, to push the envelope and
 tell us how they can use UltimateTV to enhance their performance, so we can
 translate that into the consumer experience."
     UltimateTV will have a presence at 29 of this season's NASCAR races and
 will have significant media exposure at the races via a variety of signage and
 branding, including the trackside StadiaNet video infield big screens, where
 UltimateTV will bring race fans instant replays.
     UltimateTV has also introduced a racing-themed product demonstration area
 featuring two nine-passenger stock car simulators that provide race fans with
 a full-scale, interactive demonstration of the UltimateTV technology. The
 3,500-square-foot display will travel to select NASCAR events, giving race
 fans the chance to test drive the cutting-edge technology and talk racing and
 television with the UltimateTV team of drivers during fan autograph and
 question-and-answer sessions at each venue.
     The DIRECTV satellite receiver with UltimateTV service is the first and
 only direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television receiver with two working
 tuners. UltimateTV is the only product that allows viewers to watch two shows
 on DIRECTV at the same time (picture-in-picture), watch one live show while
 recording another, and record up to 35 hours* of digital-quality programming
 for later viewing on their own "personal lineup." The UltimateTV receiver can
 even record two different live programs that are on at the same time. Viewers
 can choose from more than 750 hours per week of enhanced television, respond
 to promotions with the click of a button, and stay in touch with family and
 friends via e-mail. The DIRECTV satellite receiver with UltimateTV service is
 manufactured and distributed by RCA and Sony and is available wherever DIRECTV
 satellite receivers are sold.
 
     About Microsoft WebTV Networks
     Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc., is a leading provider of interactive TV
 services using Internet and digital technologies. The company offers a range
 of services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other television-related
 devices, and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to
 consumer electronics manufacturers.
     The newest service is UltimateTV, the only television service that
 combines digital video recording, live TV controls, Internet access and
 enhanced television programming in one complete package. The company has
 operated the WebTV(R) Classic Internet service and WebTV Plus interactive
 service since 1996 and 1997 respectively.
     Microsoft WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly
 owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates UltimateTV and
 WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to
 television network operators worldwide. Additional information about the
 UltimateTV service is available at http://www.ultimatetv.com/ .
 
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft 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.
 
     * Actual recording capacity depends on type of programming being recorded.
 
     A subscription to DIRECTV programming and UltimateTV service is required
 for full functionality of the DIRECTV receiver. Equipment and DIRECTV
 programming are sold separately. Requires a monthly subscription to the
 UltimateTV service and is subject to acceptance of the terms of service upon
 registration. UltimateTV services are available as a local call in most areas.
 In some areas, long-distance charges may apply. To check local access, call
 877-ULTIMATE (877-858-4628).
     NOTE:  Microsoft, UltimateTV and WebTV are either registered trademarks or
 trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
     DIRECTV Inc. and DIRECTV are trademarks of DIRECTV Inc., a unit of Hughes
 Electronics Corp. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein
 may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
 
 

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
    FONTANA, Calif., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
 today announced that five prominent NASCAR drivers and their crews will
 utilize the Microsoft(R) UltimateTV(R) service in their pit areas during the
 2001 NASCAR season. In a press conference at California Speedway this morning,
 defending Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, NASCAR veteran Kenny Wallace
 and future NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson, Hank Parker Jr. and Shawna Robinson
 were introduced as the UltimateTV team of drivers. These drivers will be
 looking for UltimateTV to provide a competitive edge at the racetrack and to
 serve as the ideal entertainment product for their homes. UltimateTV is the
 first and only service that integrates DIRECTV(R) programming with digital
 video recording, live TV controls, Internet access and enhanced television
 programming in one complete package.
     In motorsports, every one-hundredth of a second is critical, and every bit
 of insight and timely information has the potential to provide a competitive
 edge. By using UltimateTV in pre-race preparation and post-race evaluation,
 and as a real-time, in-race tool, Waltrip, Wallace, Johnson, Robinson and
 Parker hope to capitalize on the immediacy of information to evaluate race
 situations, make competitive decisions and execute on-track strategy more
 quickly than their opponents.
     "Our crew chief has the ability to easily replay the line that his driver
 is running on the track in slow motion and determine if the driver needs to
 change the line or if they need to be given other valuable information,"
 Waltrip said. "We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our team's
 applications of UltimateTV."
     "UltimateTV certainly enhances the fans' view of the race, but our team
 uses it as a tool of the trade to study other cars in slow motion during
 qualifying and practice to see if we can improve our performance," said
 Wallace. "When I come home from the race on Sunday, I can review our
 performance that day and make notes for our team meeting on Monday morning. In
 the heat of the race you might miss something important. Now I can move
 through the recorded action digitally and watch the segments that are
 important to me, the way I want to watch them."
     While developing the overall marketing program for the new UltimateTV
 service, Microsoft realized that most consumers don't understand what a
 digital video recorder (DVR) is or the benefits it can provide. With this in
 mind, Microsoft created an experiential program designed to educate consumers
 about the DVR category while showcasing the unique benefits of UltimateTV. The
 five-driver team will educate race fans and lead by example with its use of
 the UltimateTV service in competitive situations during the racing season.
     "Our presence at the NASCAR tracks and the relationships with these
 drivers offer a tremendous opportunity to educate millions of avid race fans
 about UltimateTV," said Bill Morgan, chief marketing officer for UltimateTV at
 Microsoft. "NASCAR is a sport based on technology. We believe UltimateTV can
 arm these drivers with more ammunition for success. In return, we are looking
 for the drivers, as the real motorsports experts, to push the envelope and
 tell us how they can use UltimateTV to enhance their performance, so we can
 translate that into the consumer experience."
     UltimateTV will have a presence at 29 of this season's NASCAR races and
 will have significant media exposure at the races via a variety of signage and
 branding, including the trackside StadiaNet video infield big screens, where
 UltimateTV will bring race fans instant replays.
     UltimateTV has also introduced a racing-themed product demonstration area
 featuring two nine-passenger stock car simulators that provide race fans with
 a full-scale, interactive demonstration of the UltimateTV technology. The
 3,500-square-foot display will travel to select NASCAR events, giving race
 fans the chance to test drive the cutting-edge technology and talk racing and
 television with the UltimateTV team of drivers during fan autograph and
 question-and-answer sessions at each venue.
     The DIRECTV satellite receiver with UltimateTV service is the first and
 only direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television receiver with two working
 tuners. UltimateTV is the only product that allows viewers to watch two shows
 on DIRECTV at the same time (picture-in-picture), watch one live show while
 recording another, and record up to 35 hours* of digital-quality programming
 for later viewing on their own "personal lineup." The UltimateTV receiver can
 even record two different live programs that are on at the same time. Viewers
 can choose from more than 750 hours per week of enhanced television, respond
 to promotions with the click of a button, and stay in touch with family and
 friends via e-mail. The DIRECTV satellite receiver with UltimateTV service is
 manufactured and distributed by RCA and Sony and is available wherever DIRECTV
 satellite receivers are sold.
 
     About Microsoft WebTV Networks
     Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc., is a leading provider of interactive TV
 services using Internet and digital technologies. The company offers a range
 of services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other television-related
 devices, and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to
 consumer electronics manufacturers.
     The newest service is UltimateTV, the only television service that
 combines digital video recording, live TV controls, Internet access and
 enhanced television programming in one complete package. The company has
 operated the WebTV(R) Classic Internet service and WebTV Plus interactive
 service since 1996 and 1997 respectively.
     Microsoft WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly
 owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates UltimateTV and
 WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to
 television network operators worldwide. Additional information about the
 UltimateTV service is available at http://www.ultimatetv.com/ .
 
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft 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.
 
     * Actual recording capacity depends on type of programming being recorded.
 
     A subscription to DIRECTV programming and UltimateTV service is required
 for full functionality of the DIRECTV receiver. Equipment and DIRECTV
 programming are sold separately. Requires a monthly subscription to the
 UltimateTV service and is subject to acceptance of the terms of service upon
 registration. UltimateTV services are available as a local call in most areas.
 In some areas, long-distance charges may apply. To check local access, call
 877-ULTIMATE (877-858-4628).
     NOTE:  Microsoft, UltimateTV and WebTV are either registered trademarks or
 trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
     DIRECTV Inc. and DIRECTV are trademarks of DIRECTV Inc., a unit of Hughes
 Electronics Corp. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein
 may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
 
 SOURCE  Microsoft Corp.

RELATED LINKS

http://www.microsoft.com