Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. may be losing its lock on the
Several cable systems owned by Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc.
recently switched out Gemstar's 'TV Guide Interactive' IPG for the product
provided by the TVGateway consortium, which is backed by those MSOs and
WorldGate Communications Inc., MSO officials confirmed.
WorldGate formed TVGateway last summer, along with Adelphia Communications
Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Comcast and Charter.
When it was formed, TVGateway's founders said the goal was to create
competition for Gemstar, which has used its strong patent portfolio to dominate
But until now, TVGateway's only launches were on a few small cable systems
owned by operators outside of the consortium. The consortium itself hadn't taken
the idea beyond the press release that announced the formation of the
Comcast and Charter are now signaling that they're serious about commercial
deployments. Executives at Cox said they would eventually like to migrate all of
the MSO's systems to a single IPG, and TVGateway could be that guide.
Comcast recently switched out TV Guide for TVGateway in Mobile, Ala., and
Willow Grove, Pa., company officials said.
Charter has dropped TV Guide for TVGateway in LaGrange, Ga., and a 'handful'
of other systems, spokesman Dave Anderson said.
Although LaGrange was the only system Anderson would name, a customer-service
representative at Charter's Leveland, Texas, system said company has dropped TV
Guide for TVGateway in several Texas communities. Those include Brownsfield,
Leveland, Slaton, Morton and Littlefield.
Officials at WorldGate, which owns 20 percent equity in TVGateway, wouldn't
discuss the deployments. The company said it's up to its MSO partners to name
The only TVGateway launches the company has announced were with AT&T
Broadband and with MetroCast Cablevision in New Hampshire, which counts 35,000
In November, AT&T said it would launch TVGateway and WorldGate's
Internet-television service in Tacoma, Wash., and Waterloo and Cedar Falls,
Boylan couldn't be reached for comment, but he sent an electronic mail to
Multichannel News Friday
afternoon stating, 'We remain 100 percent confident with our patent position,
and as of this moment, we continue good-faith negotiations with these
parties [Charter and Comcast]. We don't consider WorldGate a viable
alternative to TV Guide Interactive.'