Microsoft is incorporating its TV software into Whistler, thenext version of Windows 2000–in what looks like another attempt to find lifefor Windows in the ‘appliances’ era, as well as a retreat from the cableset-top box business that it originally aimed the software at. It demonstratedPCs running Whistler with Microsoft TV software at a broadcasting convention inAmsterdam.
In the Microsoft vision, the future PCs serve as a sort ofentertainment hub of a home network, powering digital video recorders anddigital music jukeboxes. PCs running Whistler with the new software wouldreceive TV signals and interactive programming, and use a TV set as a monitor.However, Microsoft also has an upcoming TV set-top box business, where itlicenses the design and software to manufacturers, and this announcement couldsqueeze that segment. On the other hand, there could be a completely separatemarket for very low-priced set-top boxes for interactive programming and basicInternet access.
Microsoft considers interactive TV an integral part of itsnew .Net e-initiative–a network of devices, appliances, PCs and televisionsthat are all connected to the Internet, corporate networks and one another viacomputers running Windows 2000 and its derivatives.Â