OpenTV ports expand

Interactive TV firm's system will now work on DCT-2000

Interactive television firm OpenTV says its set-top operating system will now work on Motorola's DCT-2000, the first widely deployed digital cable set-top in North America.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company will be showcasing a variety of interactive applications running on the DCT-2000 this week at NCTA in New Orleans, including e-commerce, e-mail and video-on-demand.

"With the functionality we're going to provide cable operators," says OpenTV President and CEO Jan Steenkamp, "there will be a whole new paradigm of services they can offer."

OpenTV has deployed its operating system on more than 6 million set-tops worldwide and counts BskyB and EchoStar as customers, but it has no deals with U.S. cable operators to use its operating system. Steenkamp says that should such a deal be closed, his company could roll out interactive services on the DCT-2000 by the third or fourth quarter.

Roughly 4.5 million DCT-2000s have already been deployed in the U.S. and Canada, estimates Tom Jackson, OpenTV's senior vice president of worldwide sales. Those boxes could be updated with OpenTV's software through flash downloads over the cable pipes; new ones could be deployed with the OpenTV software already in place.

Jackson says operators will be able to create new revenue streams with the DCT-2000 now and transfer those interactive services later to the DCT-5000, Motorola's next-generation digital set-top.

"Of the applications that are available today, we think we can run 95% on the 2000," says Jackson. "Operators can get it launched and get it going."

In that vein, OpenTV has made a $5 million strategic investment in video-on-demand supplier DIVA. The companies will work together to launch VOD and other interactive services on the DCT-2000 platform.