Comcast Corp. and Motorola Inc. have penned two joint ventures to cultivate and license cable technology. Comcast has also pledged to purchase $1 billion (€749.7m; £520.2m) of digital set-top boxes from Motorola.

The tie-up offers America's largest cable operator, Comcast, greater technological control over digital set-top boxes and distribution points. These points, or 'head ends', guarantee consumers only get access to the content they have pre-ordered.

Previously, Motorola and market rival, Scientific-Atlanta Inc., have been seen to have unfair stranglehold over the technology.

The first of the two ventures will develop new access technology, and will be owned and managed equally by Comcast and Motorola. The second, controlled by Comcast's 51 per cent stake, will license the technology to other vendors and cable operators - although Motorola will also be to free to offer licenses in its own right.

Comcast senior vice-president Mark Hess explained: "There's a clear recognition we have to get involved with key elements of our network. There's also a clear recognition by our partners that we'll do it together."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff