One of the things Motorola has always touted with its set-tops is that the hardware will support any software operators choose. Well, Comcast has now decided to go all GuideWorks. The Microsoft outpost in Washington, where Comcast had deployed the Microsoft TV Foundation Edition program guide, will now get converted over to the GuideWorks interface. According to a spokesperson, “We’re focused on developing a single guide and a platform across the country.”
Leaving aside the fact that Comcast has plans to install TiVo software on Motorola set-tops (single platform?), it’s interesting both that Microsoft has had so little success in the cable TV space and that Comcast is demonstrating such a complete commitment to the results of the Comcast/Gemstar-TV joint venture that is GuideWorks. Microsoft is clearly not putting much weight behind its cable efforts, preferring instead to focus on IPTV. As for Comcast, it’s committing to one platform just as OCAP is starting to gain some traction. When OCAP is fully in place, it will be significantly faster and easier to deploy new set-top software. (More on that in a future post.) Presumably Comcast wants a branded platform in place and will take advantage of OCAP to enhance it. Hmm, maybe with Follow Me TV? Perhaps?
Speaking of Follow Me TV, the full application includes Motorola’s own software interface. (The main technology but not the interface underlies Verizon’s Home Media DVR service.) In other words, Motorola does have TV software up its sleeve. Hardware, however, has been the priority.