Cox launching OnRamp in 5th market

Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:00am
Mike Robuck

Cox Communication is in the process of launching OnRamp in its fifth market.

Cox and Comcast have jointly developed OnRamp through TVWorks after the two cable operators bought up Liberate. Both Cox and Comcast are using a subset of the OCAP JAVA APIs in order to reach legacy set-top boxes with interactive, OnRamp services. Cox calls its version On Ramp, while Comcast uses the term TV Navigator.

Steve Necessary, Cox’s VP of video product development and management, said some of the applications currently running in the four OnRamp markets today included e-mail viewer, news, weather, horoscopes, movie listings, sports, “order services” (which is the ability to order and automatically provision services, such as HBO or Showtime), “program your remote” (which is a customer care application guiding consumers through the remote control process), bill view, bill payment and caller ID in Cox’s initial OnRamp market. 

For most cable operators, the goal is for OnRamp applications to eventually port over to the full tru2way environment. With OnRamp cooking on one burner, Cox is also getting ready for full tru2way deployments.

“We have completed two technical trials and are working on the activities associated with overall deployment,” Necessary said in an e-mail to CED. “As such, further trials are not needed, per se. Instead we are focusing our efforts on tru2way deployments, which will be heavy in the first half of 2009.

“Not to be overly dramatic, but I think of tru2way as doing for set-top boxes and retail devices what Windows did for PCs.”

Last month, Cox Communications announced it was working with NDS Group to design a new set-top box interface that will allow Cox’s digital customers to access all of their digital TV services through a single, interactive user interface (story here).

Cox designed an interactive user interface (UI) for existing and new set-top boxes that it said will be widely deployed sometime next year. Cox said the new UI, which replaces the Aptiv guide developed by Gemstar-TV Guide, is compatible with most of its existing set-top boxes.

The NDS interface will start out on Cox’s OnRamp deployments with the goal of moving it over to tru2way once Cox’s network is ready.

“It is noteworthy that our recent announcement of a ‘next-generation’ user interface is being designed to run only with the OnRamp and tru2way environment; that is a powerful indicator of our commitment to and expectations for that environment,” Cox’s Necessary said. “Furthermore, our announced deal with TiVo will put that user interface running on OnRamp onto Motorola DVRs in our New England market.”

To learn more about Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s tru2way plans, click here.

More Broadband Direct:

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• Broadband Briefs for 6/19/08


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