5 Years Later, Microsoft IPTV Coming to India

At a press event in Mumbai, India today, Microsoft announced a partnership with India's Reliance Communications Ltd. to bring IPTV service to the country by March 2008.

Microsoft's work with Reliance, one of Asia's biggest telecommunications companies, has gone on for several years. In fact, the two companies have intended to create an enriched TV network for over five years, but little has come of the partnership thus far.

Powered by Microsoft's still-fresh Mediaroom platform, Reliance's IPTV service is expected to bring video on demand, digital video recording, instant channel changing ("channel zapping,") and personal media sharing in both standard- and high-definition.

A major incentive for Reliance Communications' estimated $500 million investment in the Mediaroom license is the ability to better track who is watching certain programming and therefore personalize advertising. Reliance will become the biggest licensee of Microsoft's IPTV offering.

What's not yet clear, however, is whether the Mediaroom platform will be met with more enthusiasm than earlier iterations of Microsoft TV. The Redmond company has struggled to promote adoption of its IPTV service both in the United States and abroad, and has yet to follow-through on plans to stream television through the Xbox 360.

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