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BT opts for Microsoft's IPTV platform

LONDON — BT has chosen Microsoft's Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) software platform to deliver TV over broadband in the U.K. The operator plans to trial a service early next year , with a commercial service expected to begin in the summer of 2006.

The software giant sees its IPTV Edition package as another way to get closer to major network operators, and has already scored wins with several U.S. carriers, including SBC and BellSouth.

Microsoft's end-to-end solution provides the software platform that manages the distribution of video content from the time it enters the distribution chain by encoders to the time it is decoded by the set-top box in the home. The company claims its version requires fewer integration steps for video distribution once deployed and can thus be more cost effective for carriers.

Major competitors for IPTV systems include Siemens subsidiary Myrio, which claims to be supplying its gear to at least ten major carriers, and UTStarcom.

Alcatel is a major partner helping Microsoft roll out IPTV systems.

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