News

Middleware Spec Out for Comment

3/05/2001 7:17 AM Eastern

Cable Television Laboratories Inc. said it has released the first draft of
its middleware standard, issuing it to about 400 vendors for comment and to the
International Telecommunications Union for consideration as a worldwide
standard.

CableLabs said the specs will serve as a 'road map' for content providers to
build interactive applications that interoperate with broadband cable networks
and OpenCable-compliant set-tops and digital televisions.

The organization said more than 120 companies attended its 'OpenCable
Developer's Conference' Feb. 8. They included MSOs, software developers, content
providers and consumer-electronics vendors.

'The release of these specifications puts cable on a road to welcome set-top
software from companies located around the world,' Time Warner Cable CEO and
CableLabs board chairman Joseph Collins said in a prepared statement.

Dubbed the 'OpenCable Application Platform,' or 'OCAP,' the middleware will
hook into operating systems that run on advanced digital set-top boxes and
digital televisions targeted for retail channels.

Last year, CableLabs said it had selected Microsoft Corp., Liberate
Technologies and Sun Microsystems Inc. as OCAP's primary authors. Sun handled
OCAP's executable engine (for programming), and Liberate and Microsoft
collaborated on the presentation engine, giving OCAP its Web-browsing platform.
Canal Plus U.S. Technologies, OpenTV Corp. and PowerTV Inc. also served as 'key'
contributors to OCAP.

CableLabs did not specify how long vendors will have to comment on OCAP's
initial spec.

'The faster we can get their input, the faster we can move to final
specifications,' president and CEO Richard Green said in a press release.
CableLabs officials were not immediately available for further comment.

In an earlier interview, Green said he expected OCAP implementations to be
present at this year's National Show in Chicago (June 10 through
13).

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