There’s a convergence happening between hardware and software in the entertainment business, says Nathan Myhrvold, vice president/advanced technology and business development of Microsoft Corp. And according to Myhrvold, who addressed the Variety/Wertheim Schroder Entertainment Business Conference, the showbiz companies that succeed in the ’90s will be those that exploit that fact.The key is the digital revolution. “As you move to digital,” said Myhrvold, “you will have the same distribution system to handle audio, video and text.” For the past eight months or so, Microsoft, the world’s largest computer software maker, has been making the rounds to cable companies offering an array of services. As part of his presentation, for example, Myhrvold demonstrated a Microsoft prototype for an on-screen TV guide geared to the 500-plus channel universe. Based on a variation of the software giant’s wildly popular Windows program, the guide integrates a variety of services, including home shopping. A viewer watching an MTV video could press a keypad to get readout of the lyrics, find out what CD the song was from, order it electronically.
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