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Microsoft's UltimateTV product was developed by their WebTV Networks (now Microsoft TV) subsidiary in Mountain View, California, and released to the public in late 2000. more...

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It was the second of the company's products to integrate a satellite tuner with a digital video recorder and an internet set-top box, using their proprietary WebTV client and service software to allow users to connect to the internet. The following is an excerpt from the October 2000 Microsoft press release:

The DIRECTV receiver with UltimateTV service from Microsoft puts viewers in control of a more enjoyable TV experience. It's the only fully integrated product offering with DIRECTV programming, digital video recording, interactive television and Internet access in one complete package, and the only satellite receiver to allow viewers to watch two shows on DIRECTV at the same time (picture-in-picture), watch one show while recording another, and record up to 35 hours of digital-quality programming for later viewing on their own "personal lineup." Viewers can choose from more than 500 hours per week of interactive television, respond to promotions with the click of a remote, and stay in touch with family and friends via e-mail. The Advanced Program Guide provides viewers with the ability to watch and record programs up to 14 days out.
This innovative digital video recording system can also record two shows simultaneously while maintaining full digital video and audio recording quality. The live television controls include pause, instant replay, slow motion, jump ahead, fast-forward and rewind. With picture-in-picture a viewer can watch a football game on one screen and breaking news on another.
The interactive-TV capability of UltimateTV, based on the Microsoft® TV Platform software, enables users to dig more deeply into information-based programs, play along with game shows, find out about a favorite television star or check sports statistics. Kid Friendly® technology and Surfwatch controls allow parents to limit their children's access to both Web and television content. Integrated Internet access allows subscribers to respond to offers with either a click of the remote or a quick e-mail message.

Revolutionary among its peers, this DVR device boasted more features than many competitor set-top boxes would for years to come. UltimateTV's failure in the marketplace was due in no small part to the timing of its arrival, just after TiVo had captured the brand marketing and mindshare of the public in the area of television recording.


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