Integration, VOD Make Headway

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Liberate Technologies Inc. has created a Java-based version of Gemstar-TV Guide Corp.'s interactive program guide that runs as an application on thin client set-tops, just one of a cavalcade of integration deals announced at the National Show last week.

"It's an application on the platform rather than direct to the box," said Liberate chief executive officer Mitchell Kertzman.

The integration work, designed with Comcast Corp. in mind, provides the MSO more flexibility on 2000 series boxes by freeing storage space on the set-top.

TV Guide's Java-based IPG includes movies-on-demand capability. Liberate said it's the only middleware platform certified for Java by Motorola Inc.'s Acadia Horizon program.

Liberate also said it is working with Motorola on OpenCable compliant architectures. And Liberate showcased its OnDemand Player, a Java-based VOD software application, at the National Show.

Interactive TV software provider MetaTV announced an integration deal with video server vendor SeaChange International Inc. MetaTV has a development deal with Cox Communications Co., and plans to offer virtual channels such as do-it-yourself, cooking, health, fitness, sports and entertainment as well as product advertising.

Cable Television Laboratories Inc. has published the 2.0 version of the OpenCable Platform, a middleware platform for retail-ready digital set-tops. Vivendi Universal S.A. subsidiary Canal Plus Technologies is helping with the specification writing, which includes a Java-based execution engine and presentation engine for Web-based applications based on the XHTML and XML platforms.

SET-TOPS SEEN

Mediacom Communications Corp. said it has successfully deployed VOD using Motorola's National Authorization Center and servers from Concurrent Computer Corp. The deployment allows Mediacom to offer VOD to 40,000 homes in Mobile, Ala.

Digeo Inc. showcased its new BMC 8000 and 9000 boxes for some of the senior members of the cable industry through a CableLabs-led tour during the National Show.

The BMC 8000 is designed as a companion box to today's thin client set-tops, Charter Communications Inc. expects to test the boxes later this year. The BMC 8000 includes an integrated digital video recorder and high-speed home networking gateway and firewall.

The BMC 9000 combines the feature sets of the BMC 8000, plus the functionality of Motorola DCT 2000s. The 9000 also has optional DVD players and HD tuners.

The BMC 8000 will cost Charter about $350 per unit in volume shipments next year, and $275 for two TV sets hooked together with one BMC 9000 and a BMCx second set-top. "It's a good, better, best strategy," said Steve Silva, chief technology officer at Charter.

Cox Communications Inc. joined Time Warner Cable in trials for Scientific-Atlanta Inc.'s Explorer 8000 set-tops that feature DVR capability. The DVR sports an 80-gigabit hard drive capable of storing 50 hours of programming.

Elsewhere, S-A said it shipped more than 38,000 Explorer 3100HD set-tops to six North American cable operators in the first quarter. The Explorer 3100HD can deliver both HDTV and VOD/SVOD services.

Motorola said Charter will start distributing its DCP501 home theater system, which includes a DCT 2000, DVD/CD/MP3 player and stereo receiver. Motorola also said Comcast and Shaw Communications Corp. have started deploying its DCT5100 HD set-top.

IP DATA News

Alopa Networks Inc. landed another operational support systems (OSS) trial with Susquehanna Communications. Susquehanna will be deploying Alopa's MetaServe Provisioning Platform to qualify, provision, activate and monitor services in its Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Maine, Illinois and Indiana service area.

Motorola unveiled an Advanced Provisioning System that handles cable-modem and service configuration provisioning. The system sits between hardware discovery and computer configuration systems and the billing system.

Cedar Point Communications has landed another field trial for its SafariC3 Media Switching System with MetroCast Cablevision in New England. The phone service trial, to begin this summer and continue through the fall, will test New Hampshire-based Cedar Point's telephony gear in MetroCast's Belmont and Rochester, N.H., markets and in its Sanford, Me., system. The service will use an Internet Protocol packet network to deliver the voice service.

SOHOware Inc. unveiled a networking product aimed at giving cable operators a link via wireless broadband local are networks into the hotel and resort connectivity business. The SOHOware hospitality equipment includes a server, router, wireless Ethernet bridge and access points that can jointly cover up to 15 rooms.

Intertainer cut a deal with PanAmSat to distribute VOD content to its cable customers via satellite using IP delivery. The two companies will mesh satellite delivery with Intertainer's Demand E.S.P. video delivery platform. PanAmSat's VODcast pitcher-catcher delivery scheme, developed by SeaChange.

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