Video-on-demand system provider SeaChange is acquiring the remaining assets of Liberate Technologies, following the sale of the North American business to a joint venture of the Comcast and Cox cable television companies in the United States.

SeaChange will acquire substantially all the assets of Liberate’s business outside North America. A number of customer contracts will be transferred to SeaChange, together with patents and other intellectual property, in exchange for $25.5 million in cash. Liberate software is currently used by cable operators Telewest and ntl in the UK and UPC elsewhere in Europe.

“The combination of Liberate’s middleware platform with our powerful digital video delivery systems and applications will allow us to offer our international customers a common, robust platform to enable them to drive new features and services for digital and interactive television,” said Bill Styslinger, president and chief executive of SeaChange.

The web-based Liberate software is currently used to provide interactive services on cable television in the UK, including video-on-demand services backed by SeaChange systems that are currently being rolled out. The acquisition will enable SeaChange to offer video-on-demand services without being dependent on third-party set-top box software.

However, the move comes amid unconfirmed industry speculation that the UK cable companies could be considering a move to an alternative middleware system, with OpenTV being a potential candidate.