Liberate Technologies recently competed a six-week field trial of its
middleware platform on one of AT&T Broadband's cable systems in the Denver
suburbs, MSO and Liberate officials said.
The six-week trial -- conducted with Motorola Broadband Communications Sector
'DCT-5000' set-tops by several dozen AT&T Broadband employees -- positions
Liberate well in its middleware war against Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft cut a licensing deal with AT&T Broadband (then
Tele-Communications Inc.) in 1998, but it still hasn't conducted any trials in
the United States, company officials said.
'It was a very successful trial,' Liberate vice president of product
marketing Charlie Trischler said.
AT&T Broadband spokeswoman Tracy Baumgartner confirmed that the trial was
completed, but she said the company wasn't prepared to discuss whether it will
commercially deploy Liberate on its advanced digital platform.
'Microsoft TV' platform director of marketing Ed Graczyk downplayed the
Liberate trial, noting that his company expects to conduct a trial with AT&T
Broadband sometime this year.
'We've taken a much different strategy from Liberate,' he added. 'We're not a
small start-up that is primarily driven by press releases. We're not taking an
approach of doing a trial here, a trial there, to be able to announce a `design
AT&T Broadband announced plans to conduct a trial with Liberate in
September, after Microsoft said there were some delays in integrating its
software with the advanced digital set-tops.
Motorola has shipped fewer than 500,000 DCT-5000 set-tops to date to AT&T
Broadband and two other U.S. MSOs, said Bernadette Vernon, director of strategic
marketing at the company's DigiCable unit. But she added that she didn't know
how many are actually deployed.
'Two other MSOs beyond AT&T are now in test modes or preparing for pilot
modes for the 5000,' Vernon said.