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Update Logic, CableLabs Team on TV Repair

Update Logic, a Southborough, Mass.-based firm that wants to update digital TV sets by sending software patches through the airwaves, has reached an agreement with cable technology consortium CableLabs to support its technology through digital cable systems.

Update Logic is working with some 200 PBS stations to datacast software fixes as part of the PBS stations' local broadcast signals. The software patches would allow manufacturers to remotely update or repair digital TV sets, which resemble computers in their complexity, without sending a technician. Hitachi, Samsung, and Sharp have tested the system.

Update Logic has also been working with cable operators across the country, including Cox, Comcast and Time Warner, to test the distribution of its data updates across cable pipes.

The CableLabs agreement means that the Update Logic "in-band" technology is compatible with CableLabs specs, and also means that cable operators have agreed to modify their equipment to allow the Update Logic patches to be passed through along with the PBS signals they carry, without the data patches being stripped out.

Patrick Sansonetti, VP of sales and marketing for Update Logic, says the technology can be used to update any digital cable device, including television sets, set-top boxes, and personal video recorders. Sansonetti says the agreement should be a boost for cable, as customers with a malfunctioning TV set usually call their cable operator first.

"Cable is taking the brunt of responding to support calls even though it may not be a cable-related issue," he says.