General Instrument Corp. locked in a deal with Network
Computer Inc. last week to jointly market NCI's "DTV Navigator" software
for GI's digital set-tops, marking another major set-top win for NCI.
NCI -- formerly known as Navio Communications, which was
the offspring of an Oracle Corp./Netscape Communications Corp. union -- has been pushing
domestically and internationally to drive DTV Navigator into cable systems via digital
DTV Navigator, rigidly designed around open standards, is a
client-server approach based on Netscape's Internet browser. It provides television
access to any Internet application developed with the commonly used HTML (HyperText Markup
Last week's move builds on NCI's news earlier
this year that it would supply its software to European operator Cable & Wireless plc.
In that deal, C&W said it plans to license NCI's software technology for use in
its worldwide digital-cable-television deployments. C&W is also using GI's
set-tops for that project.
DTV Navigator enables services like e-mail, Web browsing
and other TV-based interactive services. In the past eight months, NCI has linked with
Scientific-Atlanta Inc. and, more recently, with Pioneer New Media Technologies.
David Limp, vice president of consumer marketing for NCI,
said last Wednesday that the intent of the deal is to "make GI one of our top-tier
set-tops, with Scientific-Atlanta Inc. already in that tier." He wouldn't
specify which models in GI's digital-box line NCI will run on first.
Denton Kanouff, vice president of marketing for GI, said
the NCI arrangement will ultimately "let operators select their own software
implementation and provide an expanded set of revenue-generating applications."
He added, "Software such as DTV Navigator can
certainly help customers to make the most out of their digital-platform investments."
DTV Navigator runs within 1 megabyte of set-top memory, NCI
In a prepared statement, NCI CEO David Roux called the deal
an important one for the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software company.
"Our relationship with GI gives us the ability to
offer a world-class solution to cable," Roux said. "Cable operators can leverage
a trusted and reliable hardware platform from GI to deploy next-generation, interactive