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Vendors Scurry To Prep IPTV

You want your IPTV? Microsoft and a slew of others are just about ready to serve it up.

"Software is working to create an individualized video feed to the screen you're watching," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, during the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday evening.

Cable, satellite and telecommunication carriers are poised to enter the home this year through IP-based television (IPTV) with a long list of digital services from basic VoIP to entertainment, news, movies, and sports.

Microsoft tested the software to enable Internet television in 2005. This year, AT&T and Verizon will roll out the services to customers. "During the course of this year these deployments will scale up into large numbers and that is when you'll start to see the innovation," Gates said. "It will blow away the previous video platform."

For years, AT&T Inc. (formerly SBC Communications Inc.), Time Warner Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc., have poured billions of dollars into building converged networks capable of delivering traffic on the Internet. Now they're racing to fill these networks with profitable services that combine data, voice, and video with help from companies such as Microsoft.

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