Cable set-top boxes from Rovi, Pace integrate online video

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cable technology vendors are increasingly touting their ability to integrate online video services such as YouTube with traditional pay-TV programming. Companies such as Rovi and Pace are displaying devices at the Cable Show here this week that allow cable subscribers to easily toggle between programming coming from the Internet, their cable provider and their DVR. Such integrations could make it easier for online video content owners to reach cable subscribers.

Rovi demonstrated a system by which cable operators could offer such integrations without replacing older leased set-top boxes. The large installed base of those low-capability boxes has been a hurdle in the industry's progress toward on-screen guide and content-discovery innovation.

Rovi's system adds an additional piece of hardware -- a "side car" box that connects accepts HDMI or A/V inputs from the subscriber's set-top box and connects to the TV set through an HDMI cable. The box then creates a modern on-screen guide and control's the set-top box by sending signals through Rovi's cloud-based system back to the set-top box. Rovi also showed examples of its guide on newer boxes and smart TV sets.

Pace and Espial demonstrated an IP set-top box that cable operators can use to offer Web and traditional TV services. Like the Rovi guide, the Pace-Espial box uses the Reference Design Kit (RDK) technology developed by Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)

Comcast said more than a dozen companies have licensed the RDK and are showing technology using it at the Cable Show this week. 

For more:
- Read the Rovi press release
- Read the Pace-Espial press release
- Read the Comcast press release

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