Microsoft launches Internet-based TV service in Taiwan


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Microsoft Corp. announced Tuesday its first TV service in Taiwan, as the world’s largest software company sought to break into the local TV market in cooperation with a cable operator.

The on-demand service, which at present is only available to subscribers of cable operator “Vee Time” in central Taiwan’s Taichung City and Taichung County, allows users to watch or access TV programs on various Internet-connected devices, including televisions with set-top boxes, computers and smartphones running the Windows operating system.

“Cable subscribers have felt it inconvenient that they cannot organize favorite programs or pay by the number of channels they use. We have solved these problems by using Microsoft’s media platform Mediaroom,” Vee Time Chairman Richard Lai said at a press briefing.

“Mediaroom provides an easy and friendly interface to subscribers, and it helps cut down operators’ costs of running such a service,” Lai told reporters.

The Internet-based service was expected to help increase the company’s number of subscribers from 780,000 this year to 1.5 million by 2011, he said. Furthermore, he predicted the average revenue per user would rise from NT$550 (US$18) to NT$800. Asked if Vee Time will collaborate with other Taiwanese operators to introduce this kind of TV service to China, Lai said that Taiwan has a favorable chance in the media market.

“Taiwanese operators have advantages in service and content provision. We should make use of these advantages and introduce our services to the digital convergence market in China,” Lai added.

Speaking on the sidelines of the press conference, Microsoft Taiwan Corp. General Manager Davis Tsai confirmed that the first tablet computer launched by a Taiwanese manufacturer on Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system will be unveiled in November, but he declined to reveal the name of the maker.

A market source said the manufacturer will unveil the tablet computer before the launch of similar devices by Acer and AsusTek.