Cox Communications is set to introduce a new user interface at the same time it starts rolling out new tru2way applications. Cox engaged NDS to build the UI, port Cox’s existing applications to tru2way and develop several new applications, explained Lisa Pickelsimer, executive director of video product development for Cox.

Cox is set to roll out tru2way set-top boxes (STBs) and DVRs. The cable industry has promised the consumer electronics industry that it would start rolling out tru2way in earnest in July.

“The go-to-market plan is to deploy the interface on set-tops running tru2way middleware,” Pickelsimer told CED. “Then we’ll port it over to boxes in the field. We have more technical work to do there, but that’s the ultimate goal.”

Cox has been focused on providing simple, consistent, intuitive navigation – a phrase that within the company gets its own acronym – SCIN (pronounced ‘skin’). Pickelsimer said everything has been designed so that subscribers can navigate everything using just the up, down, left, right and A-B-C buttons on a remote.

“Everything” includes linear programming, video-on-demand (VOD) programming and content subscribers may have stored on a DVR, all of which can be included in a single, integrated search function. The visual interface itself will have a common look-and-feel consistent across all applications.

The search function, Pickelsimer said, has been enhanced to include suggestions that might not be immediately obvious. Say, for example, a subscriber called up the film “Titanic.” There might be a show on the History Channel on shipping early in the 20th century that doesn’t focus on the Titanic, but does mention it – that show would be offered along with other content that might be overtly associated with the Titanic.

Hooks for Web content are not in this release of the UI, but Cox plans to include them later on. “With the architecture of the guide, we can add in other services later,” Pickelsimer said.

Other applications include integrated telephony services, e-mail, news, sports, weather, games, movie listings, Mosaic video channels, widgets, horoscopes and lottery results, as well as a customer care facility.

NDS and Cox have been working together for more than a year on a variety of technology deployments, beginning with the implementation of NDS’ IEX automated STB testing solution. During this time, the collaboration has grown ever deeper in the drive to move forward with next-generation, interactive and user-friendly applications designed to engage and excite Cox’s audiences.

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