It's been a while since I blogged about the elements comprising Microsoft's next-generation Mediaroom IPTV platform. But over this past weekend, one Microsoft employee finally blogged about them, too.
A quick refresher: Microsoft is believed to be merging its Mediaroom IPTV platform with Xbox Live via a project that is codenamed Orapa. Orapa was supposed to be released to manufacturing this summer in time for Mediaroom operators to roll it out to customers by holiday 2011. I had heard the following components figured into this new platform:
Rome = Mediaroom for Windows Phone Taos = Silverlight for Mediaroom Monaco = Mediaroom for Media Center Santa Fe = Settop box using Silverlight/running Mediaroom Ventura = Music and video discovery/consumption services (related to Zune)
In a September 4 blog post on Mediaroom 2.0's single-sign-on functionality, Microsoft employee William Zhang publicly acknowledged the Taos, Monaco and Rome codenames. He described Rome as a "Windows Mobile Client,", Taos as a "PC browser client" and Monaco as a "Windows Media Center Client." He mentioned the existence of the Mediaroom 2.0 set-top-box (STB), but didn't mention its codename. He didn't reference Ventura at all in his post.
Interestingly, Zhang also doesn't mention the word "Silverlight" at all in the body text of his post. making me wonder if the Taos "PC browser client" is an HTML5 client or if it is still somehow related to Silverlight -- as in a Silverlight plug-in for an Internet Explorer-based client. Last year, Microsoft execs said that the company was planning to bring Silverlight to the Xbox 360 platform, though they've said nothing for months about this. (Update: As reader "bowmanir" commented, there is, indeed a mention of the Monaco Silverlight client in the caption of one of Zhang's screen shots.)
I've been hearing Microsoft might go public with its Xbox Live TV Service offering and strategy around the time it "turns on" the Xbox Live dashboard update that is due out this fall (and possibly this month). Microsoft still hasn't announced the names of any broadcast partners who will be offering Xbox Live TV, but I’ve heard the company will likely go first with those already signed up to sell Mediaroom IPTV.
On a related note, Microsoft also is going to continue to support Media Center digital-video recorder/media player, with Windows 8, according to Windows President Steven Sinofsky. The first test builds of Windows 8 won't include this functionality, but the final product will, Sinofsky said. As I noted last week, I had been wondering whether Microsoft might rely on Orapa/Xbox Live running on Windows 8 as a way of delivering most of the Media Center functionality to customers starting in 2012. Sinofsky's post last week didn't provide details about Microsoft's commercialization or distribution plans for Media Center.
(Thanks to the various readers who sent in links to Zhang's post over the weekend.)