Microsoft adding HD to Windows-7

Next week’s DVB World show in Berlin will see a demo from Microsoft of its new HDTV Windows Media functionality which is part of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

Microsoft is partnering with Philips-founded semi-conductor company NXP to develop a new TV tuner that will operate within Windows, based on the DVB-T2 transmission standard.

“The prototype,” says a statement, “which comprises all major functionality of NXP’s upcoming DVB-T2 one chip solution and is designed for the Windows 7 release of the Microsoft operating system, paves the way for consumers to enjoy HD digital-terrestrial TV services on a Windows PC. With a TV tuner based on NXP’s technology, Windows Media Center users will be able to watch, pause, and record live HD TV wherever there is a HD DVB-T2 service.”

Commercial chipsets and software drivers based on the prototype are expected to be made available to PC OEMs and other tuner manufactures towards the end of this year.

DVB-T2 enables more channels, including HD services, to be broadcast. The UK is likely to be the first country to deploy DVB-T2 services with analogue switch-off already underway and the launch of Freeview HD in the autumn of this year.

“The PC is increasingly becoming a screen for watching television,” said Renaud Bordelet, Group Manager, Windows TV Europe, Microsoft. “Through this collaboration with NXP we ensure consumers will be able to use Windows Media Center to enjoy DVB-T2 services, such as Freeview HD, on the PC. DVB World is the first time we have demonstrated accessing a DVB-T2 broadcast in HD with Windows Media Center and we look forward to our OEM partners bringing the experience to consumers.”

Rolf-Dieter Gutsmann, Product Marketing Manager PC Video Systems, NXP Semiconductors, said: “Leaps in technology innovation are made possible when companies can combine their expertise, and we are particularly happy to have joined forces with Microsoft to support DVB-T2. NXP, building on its leadership in DVB silicon tuners and demodulators, is proud to show the first demonstrator of its DVB-T2 solution for the PC. DVB-T2 is an upcoming terrestrial transmission format which will start a new era of multimedia enjoyment, enabling superior quality of broadcast video on the Windows PC. OEMs will facilitate network operators to expand their range of coverage with cost effective hardware for PC tuner solutions.”