Canada-based Access Communications has stepped up to become the first cable operator to deploy HeadendWare, ICTV Inc.'s new headend-based digital interactive-television platform.
HeadendWare, introduced by ICTV in April, is marked for broadband networks populated by "thin-client" digital boxes. Access said it will tap the platform to offer a number of interactive applications, including TV-based Internet, to more than 80,000 subs in the Regina-Saskatchewan market via legacy DCT-1000, DCT-2000 and DCT-2100 digital set-tops built by Motorola Broadband. Access expects to launch the service commercially this fall.
Access said the ICTV trial system was functioning within 24 hours of arrival and providing services to "friendlies" without set-top upgrades within a week.
The HeadendWare architecture places most of the intelligence and processing at a cable operator's headend to foster iTV applications such as games, music, Web browsing and e-mail, eliminating the need for expensive "thick-client" set-tops. Though most of HeadendWare's power resides at the headend, the set-top must accommodate a relatively small software module that allows customers to select applications on-screen.