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In a move that could pit Philips in the highly competitive middleware market, Philips Softworks has teamed with silicon vendor STMicroelectronics to develop "solutions" for applying Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) technology in set-top boxes and digital televisions.

Under the agreement, both companies will develop and market "pre-integrated" versions of the Philips MHP 1.0.x software platform and ST's OMEGA family of single-chip digital set-top box decoders. The combination aims to dramatically cut back development and production times for consumer electronics manufacturers that want to build MHP-compliant digital TV receivers, the companies said.

DVB-MHP, an open interactive digital television standard used in Europe and Asia, also has implications in North America. Large portions of MHP form the basis for the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP), the middleware specification for forthcoming OpenCable-based digital set-tops. Philips Softworks, a unit of the company's digital networks division, has developed and implemented an MHP 1.0.1-compliant software "stack."

Philips and ST are demonstrating the Sti5512 and Sti5514 single-chip decoders using ST's STAPI (ST Application Programming Interface) driver suite, which is scheduled to be available the first half of this year. A complete MHP Reference System is slated for the mid- to second-half of 2002.

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