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Comcast tunes into Microsoft TV software

The cable company taps Microsoft's latest digital video software to try to satisfy its customers' demand for better interactive services.

Comcast Cable, one of the largest cable operators in the United States, on Thursday signed a deal to funnel Microsoft's latest TV software to millions of set-top boxes.

The agreement will enable Comcast Cable to use Microsoft TV Foundation 1.7 software to display program choices for up to five million of its customers. The Philadelphia-based cable company, a division of Comcast with more than 21 million subscribers, has the option of extending the software to other consumers later.

Microsoft's digital video recording (DVR) software supports a dual tuner that allows simultaneous recording of two TV programs. It also supports advanced interactive TV services such as digital video recording, video on demand and high-definition television. Its channel guide keeps listings for 14 days, when used in tandem with high-memory set-top boxes.

It can work across a wide variety of TV devices installed by multiple service operators, including a DCT 6412, a set-top box with dual-tuner capability recently launched by Motorola.

Microsoft TV Foundation Edition 1.7 is Microsoft's fourth DVR product and the third with dual-tuner digital video support. It will be available this summer.