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Microsoft lands IPTV deal in China

The deal with Guangzhou Digital Media Group also marks the first time Microsoft's Mediaroom service is being used to do IPTV over a cable network.

A concept PGA application showing how IPTV could be used to blend television with Web-based content.

Microsoft said on Monday that its Mediaroom software is being used by a Chinese TV provider to offer Internet Protocol television over a traditional cable network.

The deal, with Guangzhou Digital Media Group marks two first for the company--its first IPTV deal in China as well as the first time its software has been used to power TV over a cable network.

"We had always intended it to go to many different types of operators," said Ben Huang. "Now you are starting to see the fruits of that labor."

Until now, its software had been used by telecommunications firms looking to get into the TV business by offering IPTV.

The China win follows Microsoft's announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show of Mediaroom Anytime, a feature that lets users not just record into the future, but also go back in time and watch a program that has already aired, but which the consumer did not specifically choose to record.

Both Guangzhou Digital and Singapore's SingTel are expected to start using the feature this year, Huang said.

Microsoft has poured hundreds of millions of dollars in its television business for more than a decade, but only recently has seen it turn into a serious business.

"It took us a few years to get that first million," Huang said. "It took us another six months to get to 2.5 million."