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Next Media Research
Next Media Research

The Next Media group conducts basic and applied research exploring new models of interactivity, user experience, ease of use and media presentation for consumers, business and science.

Microsoft Next Media Research group focuses on developing innovative consumer media experiences that are possible with the growth in computing power, connectivity and storage in a compelling, elegant and transparent way in the 3 to 10 year timeframe with the goal of inspiring future hardware, software, services and features.

The group envisions consumer media experiences not available today and builds technologies, intuitive user interfaces and compelling scenarios to deliver next generation media experiences hence the name.

Next Media's research focus spans the linear and interactive media spectrum from television, broadband, and gaming to combinations of traditional media forms or emerging media forms too new to have a name. The group partners with product groups within Microsoft and select outside content partners such as universities, museums, and public broadcasting to develop conceptual and working prototypes which best demonstrate the functionality or vision for media that can anchor new businesses, services and consumer experiences.


WorldWide Telescope
The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a virtual telescope bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world with an integrated authoring environment enabling rich media guided explorations of the universe. Visit the WorldWide Telescope Web site.

Interactive Media Displays (IMD)
Interactive Media Displays are the answer to the immediate problem of the thousands of unseen digital photos trapped in PCs. An IMD is a networked display connected to the PC and the Web automatically delivering an interesting mix of photos and visual information.

The Age of AIDS
Next Media collaborated with WGBH/Frontline to produce the enhanced broadband television program: The Age of AIDS, a two part, 4 hour special presentation on the history of AIDS that aired May 30th and 31st 2006 nationally on PBS and online at


Smartphone Photo Browsing
The Smartphone Photo Browsing software that allows browsing, tagging, panning and zooming of full resolution photos residing on a remote PC via the cellular GPRS network. This work is related to the Interactive Media Display work. This work is related to the Interactive Media Display work.This work is related to the Interactive Media Display work. This work is related to the Interactive Media Display work.This work is related to the Interactive Media Display work.


Time Quilt
Visualizing and managing collections of photos is a challenge with thousands of photos. Time Quilt provides a fast and easy way to find and view the entire collection of photos by having representative thumbnails scaled to represent the size of the cluster and ordered in a timeline raster order to optimize screen space.


Digital SkyServer
Next Media designed the Skyserver website which is the portal for images and data for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Next Media Research helped to design the site to facilitate public access to the SDSS images and data.


MediaFrame Vision
The vision for MediaFrame is to enable you to store all of your personal media on your home PC and to quickly, easily and securely share your media to all kinds of connected local and remote display devices.


Commanding Heights
Commanding Heights is a collaboration between Next Media and WGBH to explore broadband interactive television winning a 2002 British Academy Award-Online Learning.



  • Alyssa Goodman, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA
  • Alex Szalay, Johns Hopkins University, USA