DirecTV Taps Thomson for Middleware - Multichannel

DirecTV Taps Thomson for Middleware

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DirecTV Inc. has tapped Thomson Consumer Electronics subsidiary Canal+
Technologies to supply middleware for its new line of digital set-top boxes.

Canal+ will supply its Java-based "MediaHighway" platform to DirecTV, and it
will be ported on set-tops from multiple consumer-electronics providers.

Middleware serves as the link between the box operating system and the
applications that run on it.

The move is somewhat surprising given DirecTV's pending acquisition by Rupert
Murdoch's News Corp. That company's British direct-broadcast satellite
subsidiary, British Sky Broadcasting Group plc, gets its middleware from rival
OpenTV Corp., and speculation was that this would provide an inroad to DirecTV
should the merger be approved.

The choice of MediaHighway was driven by the need to provide a wide array of
entertainment services, and its existing electronics relationship with Thomson
also didn't hurt, according to DirecTV.

"The DirecTV strategy is to utilize world-class technology to bring its
customers the most robust and entertaining television service available,"
DirecTV president and chief operating officer Roxanne Austin said.

"Our long-standing partnership with Thomson continues to benefit DirecTV
customers, and we look forward to raising the bar for digital-television
services again as we deploy MediaHighway into the DirecTV network," she
added.

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