Interview with Adam Leader, Product Manager:
Microsoft TV Photo Viewer
How long was the
development cycle for the Microsoft TV Photo Viewer? How many people were
on the development team?
Adam Leader: The development
cycle for the TV Photo Viewer was less than a year, although Microsoft
typically doesn’t disclose details about our development plans. It was a
pretty typical development effort for the Hardware group.
Why did you choose
the final design that you did for product? Did you have different designs
to choose from?
Adam Leader: We wanted a design
that looks like it belongs next to a TV. That’s where the colors and
shapes came from.
What was the most
difficult aspect of the development process?
We learned that customers really love
their family photos, and they want them to look as big and bright as
possible-we really think that TV Photo Viewer displays digital photos in
great resolution, better than many of the digital cameras and other
devices we compared it against. Check it out yourself at one of the
merchandise setups at CompUSA stores or select Sam’s Clubs.
How did the
development team design the TV Photo Viewer software and hardware to work
together flawlessly? Was there outside testing done similar to Microsoft
software "beta testing”?
Adam Leader: The people that
worked on the hardware and software were a part of the same team,
working in the same hallway. So it was pretty easy to work together on
all aspects of TV Photo Viewer.
We did a beta test-as I said before it was a pretty typical development
effort and beta tests and other ways of getting customer feedback are
standard parts of making products at Microsoft. We tested the product
with hundreds of beta users to insure that this was the best design of
the product possible.
What is special
about the Microsoft TV Photo Viewer that places it in a unique position
compared to similar products?
Adam Leader: First, TV Photo
Viewer is easy enough for anyone in the family to use-whether they are 5
or 85. Second, TV Photo Viewer let’s you bring your digital photos into
the TV room, the social room of the house. Third, the photos look
great. Compare it to the alternatives-the photos look really great
because TV Photo Viewer is completely designed to make your photos look
great on TV. Most alternatives, such as plugging your digital camera
into the TV, are designed for other things and the “video out” is a
secondary feature-often with secondary quality. TV Photo Viewer let’s
you get more out of the digital camera you already have.
Why does the User's
Guide state that it is not recommended to leave an image on the television
screen for an extended period of time?
Although we don't have any firm evidence that leaving a single image on
your monitor will cause damage (like on old computer monitors) we
thought it would be better to err on the side of safety and recommend
against this practice. We never saw any 'burn-in' of images on any of
our test televisions, even ones that kept the same image for an extended
time. Again, this was more of a “better safe than sorry” scenario.
Did the development
team for Microsoft TV Photo Viewer work with any other product groups
Adam Leader: Yes, we learned a
lot from the other product groups that make consumer digital imaging
products like Windows and Picture It!.
Why do you feel that
the Microsoft TV Photo Viewer is an excellent debut for Microsoft in the
Adam Leader: TV Photo Viewer
makes it easy for everyone to enjoy digital photos. It is really
universal-you don’t have to have a digital camera, you just have to want
to see your friends and family’s photos. Our customer and reviewer
feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. People are excited to have
another great way to enjoy their photos even more.
Does Microsoft plan
to release similar products to the TV Photo Viewer in the future?
Adam Leader: We have a lot of
ideas, but we don’t have anything to announce right now.
What do you like
most about this product?
Adam Leader: I like that it’s
designed for anyone, even technophobes, to be able to enjoy digital
photos. We’ve known how popular digital cameras are. And we’ve known the
owners love their cameras. But they’ve been hungry for new ways to show
their great photos to their friends and family.
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