ROSEVILLE, Calif., June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SureWest Communications (NASDAQ: SURW) today announced the launch of Microsoft Mediaroom 2.0 for its Advanced Digital TV video product in the Sacramento region. This upgrade enhances the ability of customers to watch what they want, when they want. In addition to managing and watching recorded programs on every TV in the home, SureWest Advanced Digital TV customers can now pause, rewind and fast-forward live programs on all of their receivers, including non-DVRs.
Ken Johnson, SureWest's chief technology officer, said, "With the IP-based Microsoft Mediaroom TV platform, our Advanced Digital TV product continues to create new and exciting features that benefit our customers. Since its launch in early 2010, Advanced Digital TV has proven to drive growth for the company and will continue to do so because of its ability to quickly release the latest advancements in video technology that our customers demand. Combined with our symmetrical high-speed Internet that reaches speeds up to 50 Mbps and our interactive Voice over IP phone service, Advanced Digital TV delivers what we believe is the best triple-play package in both quality and value in the market."
The new update is immediately available and consists of a middleware upgrade from Mediaroom 1.6 to 2.0, which not only adds the ability to control live TV from every set-top box, but is the platform required for future product enhancements. These will include enhanced picture-in-picture functionality and SureWest Multi-View, which will allow Advanced Digital TV customers to watch four channels at once on the TV screen. Both are scheduled to launch this summer. Additionally, SureWest is in the final stages of releasing a new Whole Home DVR with double the storage space, while adding over 20 new channels to its lineup, more On Demand content and extra online video content.
At the beginning of 2011, SureWest had 167,000 Advanced Digital TV capable homes, and is making the product available to nearly 7,000 new homes this year. In just two weeks, SureWest completed sales to 10% of the first 1,500 new Advanced Digital TV homes released in late April. "With these types of results, we are convinced Advanced Digital TV will enable SureWest to drive long-term subscriber and ARPU growth while reducing churn," said Scott Barber, SureWest's chief operating officer. "We are offering a product with a unique set of features that are not available through other video providers in our market, allowing us to differentiate ourselves to keep current customers while attracting new ones."
Viewers can take Advanced Digital TV for a test drive at www.surewest.com/change and see first-hand all the exciting features that will take their home entertainment experience to the next level. In addition to the new upgrade, features also include Whole Home DVR, which allows for watching and recording up to four streams on any TV in the home with just one hard-drive equipped DVR, a sleek and user-friendly transparent menu system so you never miss what you are watching as you scroll through the guide, and live picture-in-picture preview so you see what's on other networks before changing the channel.
Through the first quarter 2011, Advanced Digital TV's average monthly revenue per customer (ARPU) was $135, with approximately 98% of Advanced Digital TV customers bundling Internet and 85% subscribing to a triple-play. In just over a year, Advanced Digital TV already makes up 60% of SureWest's video subscribers in the Sacramento market, with a forecast of 80% by the end of 2011. It helped increase SureWest's overall residential subscribers by 2% year-over-year, and drove a 15% year-over-year increase in the Sacramento region's video subscribers.
SureWest Communications (www.surewest.com) is a leading integrated communications provider and the bandwidth leader in the markets it serves. Headquartered in Northern California for more than 95 years, SureWest offers bundled residential and commercial services in the greater Sacramento and Kansas City regions that include IP-based digital and high-definition television, high-speed Internet, Voice over IP, and local and long distance telephone. SureWest was the nation's first provider to launch residential HDTV over an IP network and offers one of the nation's fastest symmetrical Internet services with speeds of up to 50 Mbps in each direction on its fiber-to-the-home network.
Microsoft and Mediaroom are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.
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SOURCE SureWest Communications