Microsoft Joins OpenCable


Microsoft Corp. is the latest outfit to sign on to Cable
Television Laboratories Inc.'s OpenCable project.

Under the agreement Microsoft will contribute some of its technology to the
specification work, including the OpenCable Applications Platform middleware

The software giant also has agreed to potentially add its .NET common
language infrastructure to a version of OCAP, which provides the necessary link
between the box operating systems and the applications riding aboard it.

Adding .NET pins to OCAP could create a common runtime between devices such
as set-top boxes and PCs, therefore making home networking systems easier to
knit together.

Microsoft also will kick in its Visual Studio.Net software governing
presentation layer applications to the OCAP 2.0 specification. So far, CableLabs
has issued versions 1.0 and 2.0 of that standard, and any addition of .NET
technology will likely be backward compatible with these two versions.

In related news, Time Warner Cable has announced is putting the finishing
touches on its version of OCAP and will have it ready for system integration by
early next year.

The MSO has been working with Pioneer Electronics and Scientific-Atlanta Inc.
to make their digital boxes and respective interactive programming guides
compatible with the OCAP software. Time Warner also has been working on making
its headends ready for the software.

'We hope that the deployment of our OCAP implementation will stimulate the
adoption of OCAP as the industry's digital television software platform,' said
Kevin Leddy, senior vice president of strategy and development for Time Warner
Cable, in a release.

'With a common platform for advanced services we expect a more vibrant and
competitive market place which will provide our customers with the
next-generation of digital cable devices and products.'