What's In The Box ?

Another small step towards that ephemeral state that is convergence as Microsoft and BT announce that the X-Box will be used as a client for the BT Vision VoD service (but not for streaming live channels).

Four years ago Microsoft refused to give Narrowstep a licence for developing the X-Box as a TV client. Oh, how strategies have changed.

However, the reality is that the X-Box implementation is likely to use MCML, the language used to script MCE interfaces, rather than Silverlight (although I haven't been able to confirm this). MCML is a last generation clumsy scripting language (but there again, many Sky boxes still use WML) and demands bespoke development.

With more and more STB browsers now supporting Flash, the X-Box is still far from the ultimate entertainment centre. Sony are following suite with a dongle enabling access to video services from the Playstation.

The real problem for channel and service operators is that every IPTV service has its own interfaces and foibles.

My recommendation is to work with the main STB browsers (Oregan, Opera and Ant) to ensure compatibility with a wide a range of distribution outlets as possible.