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Hitachi TVs to pick up Gemstar technology

Gemstar-TV Guide and Hitachi announce a multiyear deal to bring program guides to digital TVs.

Gemstar-TV Guide's interactive program guides will make a debut on Hitachi America's digital television sets, the companies said Wednesday.

The companies announced a multiyear licensing deal for North America. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, nor was a launch date. Gemstar will receive licensing fees based on the number of sets sold that include its technology. The guide allows television owners to view an electronic version of a show guide. Consumers won't have to subscribe to a service to view the guide.

The guide is meant to be used with cable card-ready digital televisions, which eliminate set top boxes. The inclusion of the guide in cable card-ready televisions is another carrot for consumers to encourage them to buy digital televisions.

The Federal Communications Commission, manufacturers, broadcasters and television networks have been working to transition the industry from over-the-air television to digital television.

The deal adds to a number of agreements Gemstar recently struck with other electronics makers. Last week, the company expanded deals with Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial.