Scientific-Atlanta striking set-top deals

By Tom Dunlap,
CNET News.com, December 2, 1998
A key component in Scientific-Atlanta's push to rev up its TV set-top computer business includes a deal with Intertainer, the well-funded company that is developing ways to meld the Internet and television experiences.

At the Western Cable Show yesterday, the companies announced plans to deliver Intertainer's "entertainment-on-demand," e-commerce, and targeted advertising services over SA's Explorer 2000 TV set-top box, an Internet appliance also capable of controlling digital video, communications, and home electronics appliances.

Once in place, cable subscribers will be able to use the Explorer 2000 box to access a host of new movie, music, interactive TV, and shopping services.

Intertainer has an impressive list of backers - Comcast, Sony, Intel, NBC and US West.

To provide programming for its entertainment services, the company has agreements with movie, music, and TV studios. It also has technology relationships with Sun Microsystems and Informix, and service arrangements with online bookseller Barnesandnoble.com - and analysts say it will be a key player in the future of digital TV and set-top boxes.

Intertainer's services will be the first applications designed to operate on the Explorer 2000 platform using the PersonalJava language. Explorer 2000 supports many applications with "PC-like capabilities," the company said. The box includes a built-in RISC processor, an operating system from Sun, and scripting languages.

SA has received purchase orders or commitments for its digital network from 14 cable operators in the United States and Canada, representing more than 16 million cable subscribers.