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Enabling Telco-Grade TV Services 26th November 2010
Geoff Thomas, General Manager, Asia-Pacific, Communications Sector, Microsoft Corporation
By Geoff Thomas, General Manager, Asia-Pacific, Communications Sector, Microsoft Corporation

More than thirty world-class telcos are betting their subscription TV businesses on the Microsoft Mediaroom platform. Around the world, this platform is serving up award-winning TV services to more than five million homes, and subscriptions to these TV services are growing at a rate of four TV households a minute, twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week. While the telcos delivering these TV services deserve much of the credit for the success of these services, they would not be able to deliver as robust and reliable a service if the Microsoft platform itself were not equal to the service delivery task.

Designed to Meet a Telco’s Production Service Requirements
For Telcos that want to deliver an attractive, competitive, consumer-oriented service have certain fundamental requirements. The service delivery environment itself must be capable of delivering a virtually nonstop service. It must scale to a size commensurate with the telco’s other service businesses. It must be capable of supporting the pace of the telco’s service rollout plan. It must be designed with an eye toward ease of management when running in a large-scale production environment. It must be secure.

AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, SingTel and most recently Vee TIME Corp, for example chose Microsoft Mediaroom as the foundation for TV services they are delivering to subscribers over broadband networks. AT&T began offering its U-verse TV service in June of 2006 in a single geographic region. Within six months, it had built out its service to support seven geographically distinct regions. By the end of 2007 it had scaled its solution to support an additional 16 regions. As of mid-2009, AT&T offers its U-verse TV service in more than 50 regions in 27 states. To existing customers, the expansion of this service has been transparent. The only changes they noticed came from alerts notifying them of additional TV channels coming online.

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Realizing Real Business Value
Microsoft Mediaroom, an end-to-end software platform, provides the best in class TV experience to consumers and compelling operational benefits to service providers. As a fully-architected service delivery platform, Microsoft Mediaroom supports various service delivery components that have been sized and tested to eliminate guess work as to what a service provider needs. Moreover, Microsoft Mediaroom includes a set of deployment and test tools for building and configuring the solution, which reduces time to market and enables significant deployment cost savings.

Compelling Operational Advantages
From a telco operations management perspective, Microsoft Mediaroom offers several compelling benefits as many pieces of hardware and software are involved in the creation of an IPTV service delivery infrastructure. This is because we have already identified all components and recommended specific configurations that have been sized, tested, and validated enabling a service provider to successfully build out a viable infrastructure quickly. In addition, we include a suite of core operations management tools and a library of scripts that facilitate automation, so the operations management team can build and configure many systems very quickly and efficiently. Using the guidelines, the scripts, and tools, a single operator can install the proper component software and configure a complete deployment in just a few days.


Figure 1: Microsoft Mediaroom provides a complete, fully-architected service delivery platform.

Start Small and Grow Cost-Effectively
For service providers with smaller footprints or who want to test an initial service, Microsoft Mediaroom with Virtualization offers a low cost method of getting started with Microsoft Mediaroom. Microsoft Mediaroom with Virtualization is designed for the delivery of consumer-oriented subscription TV services to as many as 30,000 devices, yet because it relies on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V it requires fewer than 10 physical servers. It provides a highly cost-effective way to bring a compelling consumer-oriented TV service on line quickly.

Reducing Day-To-Day Operational Costs
The fact that our solution relies on industry-standard hardware and software solutions—whether in a virtual or non-virtual deployment—creates real value for a service provider by leveraging expertise readily available throughout the industry. Because the underlying services based on Microsoft Windows Server rely on common conventions and a familiar interface and because the operations management tools can take advantage of a common manager infrastructure and user interface, it is easier for a service provider to hire operations personnel that can support many aspects of the IPTV service. This is better than having to hire individuals whose expertise covers only one component or one piece of software.

The bottom line
As a complete, fully-integrated, fully-architected solution the Microsoft Mediaroom platform is built for rapid application development that makes it possible for a service provider to build out a compelling TV service quickly and cost-effectively. It is an already a proven platform in the telco data center as more than 30 world-class telcos are betting their reputations on TV services built upon a Microsoft software-based service delivery environment is proof positive that Microsoft technologies can support telco-grade production environment.

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