OpenTV Corp. completed a middleware/content deal with
Headend in the Sky, announcing a hunting-license agreement to pitch HITS' 275
cable affiliates OpenTV's middleware and content service.
OpenTV plans to offer HITS affiliates on-demand news, sports information,
weather and gaming applications in its broadcast model.
OpenTV will pay HITS an access fee for bandwidth, then offer its suite of
services on a per-subscriber basis to MSOs.
HITS also has a deal with Liberate Technologies, which is testing its
interactive middleware/content on Telemedia cable systems.
Under the HITS-Liberate deal, HITS cable systems will pay Liberate a
per-subscriber fee for the service. The Telemedia test involves news, weather,
sports, arcade games and ticker information.
Liberate expects to complete integration work with Motorola Broadband
Communications Sector, HITS and Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. this
OpenTV CEO James Ackerman expects his HITS service to be available later this
year, but he declined to name a firm launch date.
OpenTV will have to pass technical tests with Motorola for the '2000' set-top
platform, HITS, as well as complete integration work with TV Guide.
Operators would be able to provide subscribers a level of interactivity
through flash downloads of content, giving smaller systems a weapon against
satellite operators, Ackerman said.
'They know there's an imminent [direct-broadcast satellite] merger,' said
Paul Bambei, vice president of HITS operations. 'They are very concerned about
it. We're a partner that can fend off that competition.'
About 2 million-plus EchoStar Communications Corp. Dish Network boxes sport
OpenTV software and a handful of satellite interactive