Time Warner Readies Digital-Cable Portal

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Ready for a personal home page from a cable company?

Time Warner Cable may roll out a new navigation system that allows customers to view listings of their favorite video-on-demand shows on the TV screen, similar to the way an Internet site such as Yahoo! Inc. (www.yahoo.com) lets a visitor set preferences for what will appear on a personalized page of information and entertainment features.

On Sept. 28, the MSO trademarked the brands “My On Demand” and “MYOD.” According to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings, the trademarks cover the “provision of personalized video services over distributed networks, including multichannel-video networks and the Internet.”

The trademark filings come as Time Warner is developing a new interactive program guide, known internally as the “Mystro Digital Navigator.” Time Warner officials have said Mystro would allow subscribers to look for programming in a single search that would encompass live TV shows, video-on-demand content and programming stored on digital-video recorders.

Time Warner spokesman Keith Cocozza declined to comment on what the company plans to do with the My On Demand and MYOD brands, saying the trademarks don’t necessarily have anything to do with a new navigation system.

But he also pointed to development of Mystro, which Time Warner officials had originally planned to roll out during the second half of 2004 but have yet to deploy on any cable systems.

Mystro relies on the OpenCable Application Platform, an open-software architecture that would allow subscribers who buy new digital-cable-ready HDTV sets to access the guide without the use of set-tops.

Samsung Electronics America Inc. is the only electronics company that has built an HD set that has been certified as OCAP-compliant by Cable Television Laboratories Inc.

For more on Time Warner’s My On Demand and MYOD, please see Steve Donohue’s story on page eight of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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