Time Warner Cable said it will use middleware from OpenTV Corp. to ensure that its in-house digital navigator application runs on Motorola-made set-top boxes.

Under the multi-year licensing deal, the MSO will deploy OpenTV's Core 2.0 software and other "related" interactive television (iTV) services in Time Warner divisions that employ Motorola digital set-tops and headends.

Although the majority of Time Warner's systems use digital systems from Scientific Atlanta, the percentage of those based on Motorola gear will increase significantly if and when Time Warner Cable acquires several systems from Adelphia Communications.

OpenTV noted that it expects to write additional apps for Time Warner via the Core system as well as the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP), a middleware specified by CableLabs.

Investors applauded the deal, sending OpenTV shares up 6 percent (21 cents) to $3.67 apiece in early trading Tuesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deployment marks OpenTV's first with a major U.S. cable operator. USA Media Group gave OpenTV a go in Northern California during the early part of the decade, but that work was set aside when the MSO was sold. EchoStar Communications is one of OpenTV's primary customers in the U.S.

Time Warner Cable expects to begin deploying OpenTV's software in late 2006 in its Motorola markets, offering it on widely deployed, low-end DCT-2000s as well as Motorola's more full-featured models, which presumably include those that support high-definition television and digital video recording.

"Gaining a strong foothold in the U.S. cable market has long been a goal of OpenTV, and with an anchor customer like Time Warner Cable, we now have a firm foundation from which to continue extending and enhancing our solutions and services as digital television moves ahead in the market," said OpenTV CEO James Chiddix, who previously served as Time Warner Cable's chief technology officer.

"Time Warner Cable already delivers innovative services that are not available through any other video provider today, and partnering with OpenTV will help us maintain that leadership position," added Time Warner Cable CTO Mike LaJoie, in a statement.