CableLabs Issues First 'TV Everywhere' Spec


CableLabs has published its first specification for "TV Everywhere" services, developed with Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which is designed to provide common authentication and authorization methods for online video.

The consortium's Online Content Access (OLCA) project is intended to provide the technical requirements and architecture for the delivery of video to pay-TV customers from different online sources using existing Web standards "to the extent possible."

The 69-page document detailing the Authentication and Authorization Interface 1.0 specification, published Oct. 29, is available here: CableLabs announced the release of the initial spec Monday in its September-October 2010 newsletter.

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"There is an interest among MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] and programmers in developing common architectures, interfaces, and operations for online content access services," CableLabs said in its overview for the spec. "It is their belief that a common approach will offer greater choice to consumers, expanding the service to include more service providers as well as enable competition among technology providers to support the market."

CableLabs kicked off the TV Everywhere project in October 2009.

The Authentication and Authorization Interface 1.0 specification focuses on the interface between TV distributors and programmers, and doesn't cover video compression, delivery or presentation formats. The inter-domain subscriber authentication is performed using Security Assertion Markup Language 2.0, a specification maintained by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium.

The CableLabs framework outlines three scenarios for accessing TV Everywhere content: via a programmer's Web portal; via an operator's portal; and through an MVPD's Web portal but streamed separately by a programmer.

Each of the scenarios assumes that a customer will have an active video subscription with the MVPD; that the customer has access to a PC with a Web browser, video player and a broadband Internet connection; and that there is an existing business relationship between the programmer and the MVPD.

Under the Authentication and Authorization Interface 1.0 spec, how a subscriber logs out from a particular service provider's service is unspecified but CableLabs said typically logout will automatically occur when users close their browsers or if the session times out based on a defined service timeout value.