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Microsoft aids Reliance venture

Duo team on $500 million online deal

Microsoft and Indian media and telco group Reliance Communications have agreed on a $500 million deal to deliver TV services over the Internet.

Reliance, part of the Reliance conglom, said the IPTV service will use Microsoft Mediaroom technology and provide video on demand, digital video recording, personal media sharing and choice between standard and high-definition viewing.

Reliance is spending another $500 million in infrastructure development and will launch the service by March.

“TV is the only major digital device that has been left out of the networking revolution, and Microsoft and Reliance are now making the TV a first-class citizen in the connected entertainment landscape,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “By connecting the TV to an intelligent two-way network and adding powerful software, new connected and personalized experiences will become possible here in India.”

Companies also said the service will allow new accuracy in audience measurement.

“Until now, TV has been a broadcast, one-size-fits-all experience. … IPTV promises to offer our subscribers more choice, control and convenience,” said Reliance Communications chairman Anil D. Ambani.

Acknowledging that not all homes will have access to IPTV connections, Reliance is pressing ahead with plans to launch a satellite TV service, Bluemagic, early next year.

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