Culture

Sony clears Passage for set-tops

The electronics maker debuts technology that it says will allow cable operators to use equipment from multiple vendors on a single system.

Sony has unveiled technology it says will allow cable operators to use equipment from multiple vendors on a single system.

The electronics giant also debuted four new set-top boxes at the Broadband Plus trade show in California this week. All of the boxes support technology dubbed Sony Passage.

Sony says its Passage technology is supposed to allow cable operators to "use a variety of equipment from their choice of head-end equipment to their subscribers' choice of set-top boxes."

It's a bid by Sony to dominate the living room, offering devices that can effectively become entertainment servers. That vision also is being chased by companies that include software titan Microsoft and set-top box market leaders Scientific Atlanta and Motorola.

Depending on the model, Sony's set-top boxes can support Digeo Moxi services, HDTV, games and DVD drives. Memory-stick support and easy links to audio and video devices are also possible.

Sony said the new technology has already garnered support from equipment makers including Cisco Systems and Harmonic, as well as consumer set-top manufacturers Digeo and SCM Microsystems. It did not say whether Scientific Atlanta and Motorola had signed on.

Other cable companies have been working on adding similar features to their products. Scientific Atlanta announced in July that it would combine Moxi home entertainment functions in an upcoming product.