Rovi Buys Cable Engineering Firm DigiForge: Sources

Digital entertainment technology vendor Rovi has acquired television engineering services firm DigiForge, as it looks to improve its standing among cable operators that have deployed its interactive program guides, according to industry sources familiar with the deal.

DigiForge, based in Wheat Ridge, Colo., had previously won a contract from Rovi to support cable operators using the i-Guide IPG. Rovi was looking to bulk up its services capabilities in the cable space, particularly after it exited the GuideWorks joint venture with Comcast in March 2010, the sources said.

Rovi's acquisition of DigiForge was completed in the last few weeks, according to sources. DigiForge, which had about 40 to 50 employees, also has done work for clients including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CableLabs and TiVo.

A Rovi spokeswoman declined to comment. DigiForge president and CEO Ed Knudson did not respond to a request for comment.

DigiForge describes itself on its website as "a leading provider of design, development, integration, test and deployment services to the digital television industry... DigiForge's team of architects, engineers, QA professionals and project managers have designed, built and integrated some of the most complex digital television applications and systems on some of the most widely deployed platforms in the world."

Knudson previously worked for TV Guide Inc., as vice president and general manager of TV Guide Interactive where he led the design, development and launch of the first interactive program guide for digital cable TV, according to his bio on DigiForge's site. He also worked at broadband satellite service provider WildBlue Communications and spent three years at OpenTV leading the company's advanced advertising business unit.

Rovi had been talking to several small service companies about an acquisition in the past two years, according to the sources.

Previously called Macrovision Solutions, Rovi has made a series of acquisitions aimed at expanding its reach into the video and entertainment services space -- the biggest being its $2.8 billion deal for Gemstar-TV Guide International, the supplier of IPGs and data.

More recently, it bought digital-video playback and distribution company Sonic Solutions for $720 million in December 2010. Rovi previously had acquired All Media Guide Holdings, a provider of information databases and metadata for entertainment products including music and movies, and Muze, a provider of entertainment information products and discovery services.