The convergent future of digital cable TV and interactive technologies such as the Internet has taken a step closer to reality with a new strategic alliance between consumer electronics manufacturer Pioneer Electronics and French pay-TV conglom Canal+, along with digital television technology companies C-Cube Microsystems and DiviCom.
The alliance has been formed to create a complete, end-to-end digital system solution that will enable the cable TV industry to take part in the online and interactive environments popularized by computers.
The Pioneer/Canal+ solutions are intended to provide cable system operators a one-stop-shopping solution as they move into the world of convergent digital media. Once completed, the system would immediately provide cable television consumers with interactive applications such as Internet web-browsing and digital data downloading, video-on-demand, network games, home banking, online shopping and interactive program guides, according to Pioneer.
Under the terms of the alliance, the companies will develop a complete system that will work with cable companies’ existing billing systems, while providing user interfaces to subscribers’ digital set-top terminals.
The arrangement will comply with OpenCable’s industry standards. It will combine Canal+ Mediahighway software and Mediaguard conditional access systems, adapted for the U.S. market. C-Cube will provide its silicon-based technology for set-top applications, and DiviCom will supply its head-end equipment.
Pioneer will market this end-to-end solution in the U.S. through its industrial sales and marketing company, Pioneer New Media Technologies.