Tribune Media Services (TMS) said it has acquired "a significant patent portfolio" tied to iSurfTV's interactive program guide and interactive television technologies.
TMS plans to use those assets alongside its own "passive" electronic programming guide application, newspaper magazine print guides and its Web-based Zap2it.com guides and affiliate sites. Adding iSurfTV's technology to the mix will likely make TMS a much stronger competitor in the cable IPG market, which is presently dominated by Gemstar TV Guide International, Scientific-Atlanta and Pioneer Electronics (USA). Microsoft TV and TV Gateway are among those trying to grab market share in the cable IPG arena.
TMS said an IPG with iSurfTV technology has gained approval from Motorola Broadband's ACADIA Application Integration Center, which awards certification to applications for Motorola-made digital cable set-tops. TMS has yet to launch that IPG commercially. Cablevision Systems Corp. is a customer of TMS' passive program guide.
TMS hopes to raise the bar with iSurfTV's 3D guide technology, said John Kelleher, general manager of TMS' electronic program guide group.
iSurfTV's patent portfolio did not translate into many deployments. Although it did offer a version that worked on thin-client DCT1200 and DCT2000 digital set-tops, the only trial it netted was in mid-2002 with United Latin America Inc.