Cauldron Adds S-A Service Solution

Cauldron Solutions has completed work on a software application that will allow customers with Scientific-Atlanta Inc. set-top boxes to change the level of service they receive via remote control.

Cablevision Systems Corp. began using Cauldron last fall, allowing users of Sony Corp. set-tops to order premium networks, sports packages or SVOD packages, all via remote control. At the time, the only way for S-A subscribers to do the same was through a Web-based interface.

Cauldron has now completed work on the S-A application, opening remote ordering up to not only Cablevision's S-A customers, but those from other MSOs.

"It is a client application that continues to build on our Fly by Service upgrade," said Steve Salzinger, president of Cauldron "You can sell anything through their box."

"The S-A client basically is an application that's in the memory of the set-top," Salzinger said. That application only takes up 15 Kilobytes of space in the box, he said. There is another 45-Kb application launched from the headend once a subscriber seeks to add a level of service.

Anytime a subscriber gets to a screen which states they are not authorized for a channel, the application is launched and asks if they'd like to subscribe, Salzinger said.

The business rules in the software allow for up to 12 entitlement checks, through such operations as billing, customer-relationship management and order-management software, he said.

"We abstract away all the complexity of the entitlement," he said.

The S-A application works on any Explorer 2000 or higher-model set-top, Salzinger said.

"What we are seeing is that most MSOs are tracking a very incremental approach to launching the upgrade," he said. "They start with SVOD, they move to à la carte services.

"Only in the future are they considering package upgrades, HD box upgrades, DVR and voice upgrades. We provide an architecture and solution to tackle the problem all at once."

Salzinger said he's in conversations with most other MSOs. He said Cauldron also is talking to Motorola about bringing the same capabilities to its set-top platform.

"It's something we'd like to do in the next quarter," he said.

Cablevision reported 6,000 upgrades in the early months after it launched the application last fall. As an added measure to control subscriber usage, the software only allows customers to upgrade and add packages. No downgrading can be done through the software, Salzinger said.