iNovo’s First Set-Top Makes an Appearance

iNovo Broadband, a startup founded by ex-Cisco Systems and Scientific Atlanta executives, is apparently making progress on one of the first products it will bring to market as it looks to elbow its way into the crowded market for cable set-tops and gateways.

At The Cable Show in Washington, D.C., last month, Alticast — a company that specializes in set-top software and applications — showed off a variety of devices from partners at its booth, including what appeared to be the first public glimpse at an iNovo product under development. The disc-shaped iNovo device was affixed with a Time Warner Cable logo.

A person familiar with the device and the partnership between iNovo and Alticast said the purpose of the demonstration was to show a “working development platform” that uses Time Warner Cable’s “flavor” of the Reference Design Kit, a pre-integrated bundle of software for IP-connected set-tops and gateways. Comcast, which launched the RDK project as part of an effort to accelerate product development, has signed more than 80 RDK licensees.

An iNovo spokesman would only confirm that the device was indeed an IP-only HD client, adding that it was for demonstration purposes only and was not an indication that the vendor and the MSO have a formal relationship. But it does indicate where iNovo will place its focus as it develops its set-top strategy. Such an IP-based device would typically be used in tandem with a primary gateway.

TWC is developing such a gateway-client architecture as it prepares to broadly deploy a cloud-based navigator in 2014. It’s currently testing the UI with employees in Syracuse, N.Y., with plans to expand trials to New York and Los Angeles later this year. Arris supports TWC’s initial rollout of the MSO’s hosted navigation product and related IP-based devices.

Duluth, Ga.-based iNovo, which has already obtained CableLabs certifications on a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and an embedded multimedia terminal adapter (E-MTA, or voice-capable modem), was founded in 2011. It secured $1.845 million in funding last September and is in the process of raising an “A” round of funding of about $10 million.

Michael Harney, a vet of SA and Cisco, was named CEO of iNovo in August 2012. Among other ex-Cisco or SA executives on the iNovo team: chief operating officer Jack Miller; chief technology officer Himanshu Parikh; vice president of engineering Ajith Nair; and principal architect Douglas Woodhead.