At a 2:30 press conference today LUS officially announced the launch of media room with Terry Huval saying that adopting the new software would move the system to the cutting edge of video services and development. According to the press release:
The platform focuses on giving consumers advanced flexibility to enhance their overall TV viewing experience. LUS Fiber is the only provider in Acadiana that has a network capable of delivering Microsoft Mediaroom to its customers. With the power of Lafayette’s only 100% fiber optic network, and the compelling Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV platform, residents and businesses will now have access to world class features not available from conventional cable TV companies.
Current customers are being called and appointments made to replace the current set top box with another containing the new software. The change-over will begin immediately:
LUS Fiber anticipates that the new Video service powered by Microsoft Mediaroom will be made available to all customers receiving new service beginning July 8.
The most visible changes will be in the enhanced capacities of the DVR software that allows recording shows for later viewing.
- Whole Home DVR
- Record and watch recordings from any set top box equipped TV in the home, which allows a customer to start playing a recording in one room and finish watching it in another room. Record up to three programs at once – Flexible!
- Instant Channel Change
- No more waiting for the next channel to show up. You can scroll through channels with ease to find the program you want to see – Faster! ·
- Picture-in-Picture Browsing
- Get a peek at what else is on other channels while still watching your current program – More!
- Enhanced Search
- Find shows and movies quickly. This comprehensive search will even check the recorded TV list and Video on Demand offerings – Better!
Terry Huval addressed the question of why the change was necessary:
“During the deployment of our LUS Fiber system, a number of our customers asked us for more advanced video features…Microsoft Mediaroom provides the platform that will deliver the features our customers want and, because it’s a web-based system, it offers us endless possibilities for future applications and expansion.”
That last sentence is the key: LUS recognizes that what is wanted and needed is a platform that will allow bringing internet-based material and methods to your television. The television needs to also become another screen onto the web; albeit one especially suited for showing video and for occasions when multiple people want to view the same material. During the Q&A after the short demo I asked Huval to elaborate on those possibilities. He responded that they anticipated weather and news apps and mentioned putting caller ID on the screen and providing the ability to remotely program your set top box’s DVR.
I talked to an Alcatel rep after the show (Alcatel is the maker of much of the equipment that hangs on the side of your house and pretty much the system integrator) and he said that Microsoft makes the platform that the new apps/widgets/services runs on available to developers as a download. That sounds awfully good; I know that there are a lot of folks locally who are raring to get involved. Alcatel makes some middleware and I presume that is what LUS is using. Linking up the two should make most development possible. That sounds like the avenue for anyone who wants to get ahead of the TV app tidal wave…
Itsa good thing gang. Major media showed up; look for it on your (old-fashioned) TV screen tonight.