Microsoft India is in talks with the Times Group to launch Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) for the first time in India for its new Windows Media Centre PC. The new version of Windows Media Centre Edition, which Microsoft launched on Thursday, enables users to watch TV, pause and record live programmes besides other multi-media facilities.
"We are in talks with the Times Group and others to collate and provide us the data for the service. The service will be available for free to all users of Windows XP Media Centre PC," said Rishi K Srivastava, Director, Windows Client Business Group. It may be recalled that Indiatimes, the Internet arm of Times Group, had recently launched its BPO division with an intention to provide outsourcing services to potential clients.
Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), which serves as an electronic TV guide, is an application to list current and scheduled programmes that are available on channels. In addition, a short summary or commentary for each programme is listed. It allows users to search for their favourite programmes by entering key words, phrases or even a specific date and time and programme their PC to record or playback these shows at their convenience. The facilities are usually available with a set-top box, which is functional only in Chennai at present in India.
"The programming will be loaded at our Headquarter at Redmond, Washington after which a user can access it through broadband or dial-up connection. The service will be launched in the first quarter of next year," Ranjivjit Singh, Group Director, Consumer Business, Microsoft India said.
Launching the new version of Windows, Neelam Dhawan, MD, Microsoft India, said, "India is growing as a digital economy. Technology has changed the way consumers work and play the world over. The PC has emerged as the centre of a digital lifestyle and as we move forward into the digital decade, consumers are waiting for new devices and technologies that redefine the way they communicate, entertain and educate. Building software that enables these and other devices to connect smartly and enable a better-together experience is a part of the value we want to provide."
Asked about the possible threat from Google, Dhawan replied, "Google is a competition only in the search-engine segment. Our strategy and product range is far wider than Google."
On the marketing front, Microsoft will launch 500 Microsoft retail centres in eight cities within the next six months in collaboration with its partners where people can experience the reach functionality of each offering through the guidance of onsite experts.
On Microsoft's proposed IPTV launch, Dhawan said, "Some pilot projects are already going on. It is up to the Internet service providers to launch it finally."