Telewest, one of the UK's major cable operators, has reversed its decision to use OpenTV software in its set-top boxes due to a major flaw in the software.
OpenTV software, used by Sky's British Interactive Broadcasting, is incapable of accessing Web pages, severely limiting its potential for use in interactive TV applications.
A Telewest spokesman said: "It was crucial for Telewest to get the best mix of hardware and software possible and so we will not be using OpenTV.
The set-top box will act as a network PC and your TV will be the VDU.
We are looking at the future of television and home computing being revolutionised by this technology."
Cable & Wireless and NTL are both using HTML software by NCI, owned by Oracle, and Telewest is now expected to go down this route.
Simon Weedon, telecoms analyst at Deutsche Bank, said: "This means the cable companies are now unified in their adoption of HTML-based systems, so we should see more applications emerging for the set-top box, such as video-on-demand, high-speed Web surfing and online ordering and purchasing applications."
He also suggested there might be a leap in business television services.
"For example, Reuters might launch a TV station that tracks business news which could be adopted by banking and trading institutions," remarked Weedon. "These low-cost set-top boxes providing enhanced television and Internet services are expected to be a major source of revenue for cable operators as the mass market for Web devices takes off."
SET-TOP BOX FROM CISCO
Making an unprecedented move into the consumer retail market, Cisco demonstrated a set-top box it has developed with Hitachi, at the Electronic Show in Las Vegas last week. The low-cost set-top device runs on Windows CE and is capable of offering video-on-demand, voice-over-cable, high-speed Web access and digital cable.
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