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As cable operators look to interactive TV as a way to generate new revenue streams, the integration and development of IPG (interactive program guide) platforms to complement iTV services becomes more and more relevant.

iSurfTV is one of the newer IPG developers on the block, and it has announced one of the first trials of its patented technology. Mexican operator Tele Cable de Morelos, S.A. de C.V., whose parent company United Latin America Inc. is wholly-owned by UnitedGlobalCom Inc., will commence a test pilot program to digital subscribers in Cuernavaca. The IPG used for the test will be customized for TeleCable for use on the Motorola DCT-1000 and DCT-2000 platforms. The pilot test is scheduled for launch later this summer.

The road to new IPG development is a rough one. The market thus far has been cornered by Gemstar-TV Guide, and has been marked by multiple lawsuits from competing IPG companies over various patent infringement conflicts. For iSurfTV, it intends to preempt potential litigation by securing patents for its presentation technology. It's already secured a patent for its development of "texture mapping" to display graphical information. Instead of using computer-generated graphics like most IPGs do, iSurfTV's texture mapping creates 3-D visual impressions of information on-screen. For instance, digital cable customers working off of an iSurfTV IPG would be able to select custom font types and sizes to display.

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