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DirecTV to take the middleware 'MediaHighway'

Thu, 06/12/2003 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Thomson said its Canal+ Technologies division has inked a deal to supply its MediaHighway middleware platform to DirecTV Inc.

The Java-based middleware would be ported to DirecTV set-top receivers and power a number of interactive applications, the companies said. DirecTV serves about 11.4 million subs and has deployed more than 18 million set-tops.

The companies said the combination would enable DirecTV and its CE manufacturers to lower costs for advanced boxes and to create a more consistent on-screen user interface.

"This agreement further strengthens the longstanding relationship we have built with DirecTV since we together developed the first high-power digital broadcast satellite network in 1992," said Thomson CEO Charles Dehelly, in a statement.

Thomson inked a $186 million deal to add Canal+ Technologies to its portfolio last September. The deal gave Thomson access to Canal+ Technology's middleware and "MediaGuard" conditional access platform.

Earlier, it appeared that Canal+ Technologies' middleware would end up in boxes from DirecTV rival EchoStar Communications. Back in 2001, Vivendi Universal, which owned Canal+ Technology at the time, agreed to invest $1.5 billion in Echostar, a deal that included a non-exclusive agreement to the DBS service provider to use the MediaHighway middleware platform. The following year, Vivendi sold back its stake to EchoStar for a reported $1.066 billion.

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