On Monday, Microsoft announced that the latest generation of its IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)-based software, previously called Microsoft TV IPTV Edition, will now be branded as MediaRoom. This software, which will ship solely from broadband service providers like AT&T, BT Group, and Deutsche Telekom, adds a number of features, some of which are aimed at improving connectivity between TV set-top boxes and traditional PCs.

"Microsoft is committed to providing our IPTV customers with the very best software platform so they can take full advantage of their intelligent, two-way IP networks, and begin deploying richer and more personalized TV and connected entertainment experiences," said Microsoft corporate vice president Enrique Rodriguez. "With personal media sharing and new application development capabilities, Microsoft Mediaroom brings the consumer television experience to a new level, enabling the best in TV, plus access to all your media in one place."

As suggested by its new name, MediaRoom adds a number of connectivity-related experiences, including personal media sharing between MediaRoom-based set-top boxes and digital photos and music stored on PCs, a Multimedia Application Environment for video, picture, and text interaction with Web services, a picture-in-picture (PIP) feature called MultiView, and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) capabilities, the latter of which is critical for European TV markets.

While Microsoft hasn't yet created much of a market for its IP-based TV offerings, the company notes that consumers in the US, Germany, the UK and France are already using Mediaroom-based services. The company is currently partnering with 18 service providers worldwide.