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Motorola Unlocks IPTV Set-Tops

Motorola is opening up access to the software in its VIP 1200 Internet-protocol-TV set-top boxes with an application-development platform based on the Linux operating environment.

The KreaTV platform is supposed to let operators more easily customize set-top applications, such as interactive programming guides, viewer-voting tools, multiroom digital-video recording, video-on-demand and interactive teleconferencing.

“Openness” is allegedly one of the key advantages of IP-based TV platforms over traditional cable set-tops. For example, Microsoft this week announced that its IPTV software, now called Mediaroom, will be open to third-parties to create interactive TV applications. And the cable industry hitched its wagon to the Cable Television Laboratories-developed OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) specification to provide this type of customization.

Motorola got into the IPTV business in February 2006 by buying Kreatel Communications, a Swedish developer of IP-based digital set-tops. Since then, it acquired a number of IPTV-technology companies, including MPEG-4 video-compression startup Modulus Video and IPTV-encoding-equipment provider Tut Systems.

"Motorola is building on our global IPTV leadership by extending the level of high-quality, on-demand and interactive services for consumers in North America on a proven hardware platform," Motorola corporate vice president and general manager Doug Means said in a prepared statement.

Motorola said it has shipped more than 1 million IPTV set-tops to date, dating back to when Kreatel shipped its first IP box in May 2001.