NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Microsoft Corp. is set to announce that the next version of its Windows operating system will also be able to power digital TV sets, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.|
The Redmond, Wash.-based software company plans to fold its software for digital television set-top boxes -- dubbed Microsoft TV - into the successor to the operating system Windows 2000, dubbed Whistler, which is due to hit store shelves next year, the newspaper said.
The company will unveil a trial version of the software at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam Friday, the report said, citing people familiar with Microsoft's strategy.
"Set-top boxes are growing to be more like PCs," Ed Graczyk, director of Microsoft's (MSFT: Research, Estimates) TV Platform Group, was quoted as telling the Journal.
Embedding the existing television software into the personal computer operating system is the latest attempt by Microsoft to play catch-up in the field of digital entertainment. Thus far, it has trailed behind rivals like Mountain View, Calif.-based rival Open TV Corp., the paper noted.
Broadcasters require sophisticated software to help them offer viewers interactive services such as on-demand weather, e-mail, and e-commerce services related to programming.
Microsoft reportedly hopes to convince broadcasters to use its digital-TV technology because it will offer consumers the ability to power both their television sets and PCs with a single device; that would eliminate the requisite separate set-top box needed for decoding digital television signals, the Journal noted.
But some industry experts expressed doubts about Microsoft's ability to catch up with digital-TV market leaders, the report said.