Will Microsoft’s TV Efforts Finally Pay Off in 2008?

CNET reports that Microsoft is streamlining its video operations, putting Internet Protocol television, Media Center, and HD DVD groups into one single group, Connected TV group. The new group now falls under Robbie Bach’s Entertainment and Devices division. Enrique Rodriguez, the VP who till recently was running Microsoft IPTV, is now in charge of Connected TV Group, while Peter Barrett, former CTO of the IPTV group is now CTO of Connected TV group.

The idea behind the reorganization, according to News.com, is that since Microsoft is trying to put video on a variety of devices – Zune and Xbox in particular – it makes sense for a single consolidated effort.

On the IPTV front, Microsoft is moving ahead with its effort to allow additional programs to run on set-top boxes using its software. Microsoft said it now has more than two dozen companies working on software for its Mediaroom platform, including ES3 and Emuse Technologies.

Microsoft plans to make a big splash at the CES and announce a whole slew of new video focused products. Similarly in 2008, a lot of Microsoft’s IPTV deployments will graduate from mere press releases to live deployments. Having been highly skeptical of their efforts so far, I am looking forward to next year and see how close Microsoft comes to delivering on their vision/plans.