Since 2004, Microsoft has been powering Comcast’s set-top box software here in Washington state. But now Comcast plans to drop Microsoft and use the same software the cable company is using elsewhere: GuideWorks, which is the product of a joint venture between Comcast and Gemstar-TV Guide. “We’re focused on developing a single guide and a platform across the country,” said Steve Kipp, a regional Comcast spokesman. “We believe this will bring our customers a consistent user experience and allow us to integrate new features onto the guide more quickly than in the past.” The decision is a setback for Microsoft in its quest to woo cable companies.
The new interface which allows viewers to preview as many as six channels at once. But still, I wonder why set-top box interfaces don’t look more like websites, with topical programming highlighted in a clean, simple, compelling video home page.