CableLabs Opens Lid on OCAP Standard


In a move long awaited by the cable industry, Cable Television Laboratories
Inc. has finalized the OpenCable Applications Platform (OCAP) middleware
specification for standard OpenCable set-top boxes.

OCAP 1.0 sets the standard execution engine for set-top-box middleware, which
acts as the bridge between the box's operating system and software applications
such as navigation guides and Web browsers.

Creating a common middleware standard gives software developers a single set
of plugs to develop their products. Without it, they have would to tailor their
products to each digital box's system.

'CableLabs has accomplished an unprecedented milestone that places the cable
industry out front when it comes to openly available, publicly accessible
guidelines for creating new and exciting interactive entertainment applications
for cable consumers,' AOL Time Warner Interactive Video chairman and CEO and
chairman of CableLabs' board of directors Joseph Collins said in a prepared

'We intend to fully support OCAP-enabled, OpenCable set-tops and other
devices when they appear on our networks,' he added.

Middleware competitors including Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and
Liberate Technologies contributed to the standard.

It also draws heavily on the European Multimedia Home Platform middleware
specification created by the Digital Video Broadcasting organization.

Testing for devices using the new OCAP standard middleware will kick off with
a February developer's conference at CableLabs' Louisville, Colo., headquarters.
The first interoperability testing wave is set for March.

Meanwhile, an updated, backward-compatible OCAP 2.0 version is also in the
works. That version adds a presentation engine to allow use of Web markup and
scripting languages, including HyperText Markup Language, and a way to link that
engine to the main OCAP execution engine.