RealTime IT News

Motorola: You've Got AOLTV

AOL Time Warner's America Online (AOL) unit and Motorola Inc. said they would work together to make some of AOLTV's features available via Motorola's digital set-top terminals. The deal would broaden AOLTV's availability in digital cable-equipped homes, including those that may be affected by Excite@Home's possible forced shutdown by this Friday.

The development deal between Motorola's Broadband Communications Sector unit and AOL would give Motorola's broadband network operators the potential to provide their digital cable subscribers with a number of AOLTV's features, including instant messaging , the Buddy List feature, Buddy Chat and e-mail.

AOL and Motorola want to make those AOLTV applications available as a software download to Motorola's current DCT2000 and DCT5000 set-top families. With the download, cable operators would be able to offer AOLTV services to the over 18 million DCT digital set-tops already shipped by Motorola. Those features would also be available on future Motorola DCTs.

"A significant part of Motorola's digital cable strategy is to offer access to the latest applications that will help drive broadband growth. We believe that AOLTV functionality is poised to become one of these key drivers," said Carl McGrath, vice president and general manager of Motorola Broadband's DigiCable business. "Making AOLTV features available on our set-tops -- including those already out in the field -- will significantly enhance digital cable subscribers' interactive broadband experience, which in turn, will help our operator customers add even more value."

Last month, digital-content distribution systems supplier Scientific-Atlanta signed a similar development pact with AOL, where both companies would develop a version of the AOLTV service for cable. The new service would be delivered to consumers via Scientific-Atlanta's Explorer set tops.

The first version of AOLTV for cable will be deployable on all 2000 class Explorer set-tops, and will let Explorer users to connect to the same AOL communication applications as are details in the Motorola deal.

Both of AOL's cable set-top pacts come as broadband interactive competitor Excite@Home may be forced to shut down this Friday. If that happens, cable companies that were with Excite@Home would need to look at similar providers -- putting AOLTV in a prime position to immediately pick up cable companies that have customers pining for high-speed access to the Internet and other interactive services.

Bob Woods is the managing editor of InstantMessagingPlanet.com.