Cox, the third largest cable operator in the United States, has chosen NDS to implement its next-generation interactive video user interface, which will be extended to include online community features. NDS has also been substantially cleared of accusations of unfair competition brought in a critical court case by Kudelski Group and EchoStar.

Cox has designed an interactive user interface, intended to run on many of its currently deployed set-top boxes, as well as being forward compatible with Tru2way devices and accessible through personal computers. It will enable services to be promoted, searched and accessed through a state-of-the-art interface to deliver a superior user experience.

Cox and NDS have partnered to enhance the user experience by allowing viewers to personalise it to match their viewing preferences. Network-based community sharing, which enables friends and family members to recommend programmes to one another, will also be added.

“Building on our proven experience in the development of interactive applications, NDS is working closely with Cox to enable a high quality UI that will be delivered to market quickly,” said Steve Tranter, vice president of broadband and interactive for NDS. “As consumers grow more accustomed to a visually appealing, easy way to access their content, Cox has recognised that an interactive and customisable UI is essential to pleasing the customer.”

Cox has increased its digital cable subscribers by over 10% over the last year, to 3.2 million. As part of a project called EON or Extended Optical Network, Cox is extending its fibre network to deliver faster internet and more high-definition and interactive video services.

“The competition for video customers is now in digital, and opportunities abound even with increased competition,” said Pat Esser, the president of Cox Communications. “With more expansive high definition offerings, on demand and DVRs, customers are buying more video services from us than ever.”

NDS judgement
NDS, a News Corporation controlled company, also provides interactive applications for DirectTV. The company has been in court for the last month defending a case brought by rivals Kudelski Group and EchoStar, which operates the Dish Network, reportedly claiming over a billion dollars in damages.

NDS was accused of employing a hacker to crack the encryption used in conditional access cards for the Dish Network service. In its defence NDS said that it uses former pirate hackers to make its own system more secure. In the end the court awarded actual damages of just $45.69, and statutory damages of $1,000, although NDS will also have to pay all legal costs.