Staking out more prime territory before widespread
deployment of advanced-digital set-top boxes begins, Intertainer Inc. and ACTV Inc. have
each completed integration with additional set-top platforms.
On-demand content provider Intertainer announced that its
enabling software has been integrated with General Instrument Corp.'s
"DCT-5000+" platform, which GI said it will begin shipping in high volume during
the third quarter.
ACTV -- creator of the "Individualized
Television" service, which enables viewers to access multiple video, data and audio
feeds for a single program -- said it has been integrated with the "Passport"
navigation-software suite developed by Pioneer Digital Technologies for its
"Voyager" set-top box.
Set-top makers have been working to integrate these and
other programming services into their digital delivery systems to make their boxes more
desirable for MSOs that want the capability to offer a broad variety of service options
from their chosen platforms.
ACTV, for example, already had deals to port its
interactive programming to GI's "DCT-1000" digital set-top and to
Scientific-Atlanta Inc.'s advanced "Explorer 2000" digital box, which ACTV
said is built to the same specifications as Pioneer's Voyager and Passport.
David Alworth, ACTV's executive vice president, said
completing the integration with the industry-standard platforms facilitated his
company's ability to offer its enabling software to others, such as Pioneer, on a
royalty-free basis for inclusion in their own software-navigation or application suites.
"We still have to deal with MSOs that may use other
hardware" than GI or S-A, Alworth said. "That's what leads us to talk to
all of the other digital set-top manufacturers and to conclude deals with those that have
The Passport program guide and navigation suite was
designed as a cross-platform application, in addition to being featured on the Voyager
box, said Neil Jones, Pioneer's senior vice president of operations and business
The company is working with another set-top maker, but it
did not have any agreements to announce yet, he said.
"ACTV is also cross-platform. They know that once
they've integrated with Passport, that will help them to get on more platforms, as
well," Jones added.
Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. and Rogers
Cablesystems Ltd. are testing the Voyager, with upcoming installations at other MSOs.
Intertainer's deal with GI follows the service's
earlier porting to S-A's Explorer 2000, putting Intertainer -- like ACTV -- on what
will initially be the two dominant set-top platforms.
"We've been mostly concentrating on MSOs that
have been planning to roll out the Explorer 2000, which seems to be ready a little bit
ahead of the DCT-5000," said Jonathan Taplin, Intertainer's co-CEO.
"We're trying to fix some dates to do some trials this fall and some full-scale
deployments at the end of the year."
Intertainer had been working with GI through the
vendor's "Horizon Digital Developers" program, which was created to
facilitate integration of third-party applications to its set-top platform.
Intertainer delivers on-demand music, video, interactive
advertising and e-commerce applications via locally placed servers that access content
stored at its facilities in Culver City, Calif. The company serves both cable operators
and telephone companies that offer broadband-access services.