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NDS Hits the MediaHighway

Interactive-technology and conditional-access supplier NDS Group expanded its iTV-middleware product line with the acquisition of Thomson's MediaHighway division for approximately $60 million.

NDS already has a middleware platform for smaller set-top boxes, but acquisition of MediaHighway gives it a platform designed to take advantage of high-end set-top boxes.

MediaHighway has a deal for distribution on DirecTV in the United States, so the move also gives NDS a much larger presence in North America.

"We have NDS Core for smaller boxes, but we felt, to become a bigger player in interactive television, we needed something like MediaHighway," says President and CEO Dr. Abe Peled.

The middleware, he adds, will make it easier to deploy NDS interactive products developed over the past few years. Those products are MHP- and OCAP-compliant, and he expects the combination of MediaHighway and NDS to provide a much richer environment for MediaHighway customers.

Under the deal, Thomson will continue to offer MediaHighway as part of its systems-integration business. Peled hopes that will broaden the middleware's user base.

Employees of MediaHighway will be come part of NDS France. "We're used to operating on a worldwide basis with offices in Israel, the UK and Bangalore, so why not have one in Paris?" says Peled. "We think our global perspective is part of our strength."