RealTime IT News

Time Warner Ensures a Friendly Box

Cable giant Time Warner tapped software developer OpenTV to help with the integration of new customers while enhancing interactive television service.

Ninety percent of Time Warner customers use set-top boxes from Scientific-Atlanta, but a deal with Comcast to acquire Adelphia Communications may result in millions of new customers connected to Motorola cable boxes.

Today's multi-year agreement with San Francisco, Calif.-based OpenTV will allow Time Warner to deliver programming to both set-top-box varieties with OpenTV's software.

"We give them a way to integrate the program guide," OpenTV CEO Jim Chiddix told internetnews.com. The deal is a homecoming of sorts for Chiddix, who was the CTO of Time Warner Cable prior to becoming CEO of the 10-year-old software company.

Faced with a mix of technology, cable companies can use OpenTV software to manage differing set-top boxes and rollout applications to all subscribers.

"Gaining a strong foothold in the U.S. cable market has long been a goal of OpenTV," Chiddix said in a statement.

Along with enhancing the program guide, Time Warner said OpenTV's Core 2.0 set-top software will hasten new products aimed at Motorola hardware ranging from the DCT-2000 to the more full-featured boxes, according to a statement.

The cable company expects to use the OpenTV software to deliver digital television services, including the digital navigator, interactive programming guides, video on demand, customer service applications, voting, caller ID on TV and more.

Those services are already a staple on satellite, said Chiddix. EchoStar, which operates satellite's Dish Network, is one of OpenTV's biggest customers.

The agreement "reflects that the environment is changing," said Chiddix. Where once cable television didn't see much need for interactive television, advanced services are now viewed as a way to compete with rivals, including satellite, he said.