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Brits break free of TV schedule with digital TV but Gen Y still love it live

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LONDON – UK – 19 August 2008 – The ability to pause rewind and record TV is freeing Britons from the fixed TV schedule according to a survey of 2,000 UK digital TV viewers, commissioned by Microsoft’s Connected TV Business Group*. Of the tens of millions of Brits now watching digital TV, almost half (48%) in the survey say they now control what they watch and when they watch it using digital video recording (DVR). The biggest reasons for the popularity in digital TV and DVR is to avoid scheduling conflicts but also gives more family time, fewer arguments about what to watch and the ability to pause live TV to answer the phone or door.

However one in three digital TV viewers (31%) continue to organise their lives around what’s on TV; including a hardcore one in eight (12%) who would even turn down a night out if it clashed with a favourite programme.

Surprisingly, it is the tech-savvy generation Y (16-24 year olds) who seem most attached to live TV, with just under half (42%) saying they organise their lives around the schedule and almost one in three (31%) saying they would choose to stay in or go home early if there was something on TV they wanted to watch.
With DVR, viewers can pause and rewind live TV, and record TV shows or whole series all at the touch of a button. Nine in ten people (92%) who use DVR say this improves the TV viewing experience, addressing the most common frustrations of broadcast TV, including scheduling conflicts, which the research revealed to be the biggest gripe for one third (34%) of digital TV viewers.

The survey revealed DVR to offer unexpected bonuses. One in five DVR users (22%) reported more family time as they record programmes and eat at the dinner table not in front of the TV; one in three (30%) have fewer arguments in the home about what to watch and four in ten (39%) say they now pause TV rather than ignoring a phone call or knock at the door.

“Young adults are still willing to change their schedules to catch their favourite shows live so that they can talk about them with their friends right away.  For the rest of us life is too hectic and we value being able to catch-up and watch our favourite shows at a more convenient time. You can do this and more with connected TV services such as BT Vision, which is powered by Microsoft Mediaroom.” says Christine Heckart, General Manager, Marketing, Connected TV Business Group, Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Connected TV Business Group commissioned the research to understand how the flexibility and control provided by new TV services is impacting people’s lives and viewing habits.

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Notes to editors
* The research was carried out for Microsoft by Opinion Matters, an independent research company on 1739 UK digital TV viewers.

About Microsoft Mediaroom
The award-winning Microsoft Mediaroom Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and multimedia software platform is driving the future of television by enabling broadband service providers to deliver new connected TV and entertainment experiences to consumers worldwide. Microsoft Mediaroom provides new ways for consumers to experience TV as part of their connected, digital lifestyle, while also creating new business opportunities for broadband service providers, hardware manufacturers, content creators, advertisers and application developers. Over 20 of the world’s leading service providers across four continents have selected the Microsoft Mediaroom platform to drive their digital TV services. More information on Microsoft Mediaroom and the opportunity to deliver the best in TV plus all your media in one place is available at http://www.microsoft.com/tv and http://www.microsoftmediaroom.com.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

For further information about this press release, please contact:
Laura Glancy/Nikki Thompson
Weber Shandwick
0207 067 0500
mstvemea@webershandwick.com