Samsung Goes Two-Way with CableLabs

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A tour by senior cable-industry executives in the Far East has borne fruit, with Cable Television Laboratories Inc. announcing that Samsung Electronics America Inc. signed a licensing agreement for two-way digital-cable products.

The agreement allows Samsung and any cable MSO to implement two-way services over a Samsung TV using the OCAP (OpenCable Applications Platform) specifications developed by CableLabs.

The cable and consumer-electronics industries are currently negotiating a two-way deal that would allow consumers to buy cable-ready TV sets and to use video-on-demand and interactive-guide functions. The one-way deal, signed late last year, covered only one-way applications.

The Samsung deal doesn't hinge on the two-way agreement -- it allows Samsung to negotiate with MSOs independent of the two-way talks for two-way cable services.

This move is not unprecedented: Panasonic Consumer Electronics signed a similar one-way licensing agreement with CableLabs months before the one-way deal was concluded.

The agreement stemmed from a trip to Seoul and Tokyo, put together by CableLabs, for senior MSO executives to visit major consumer-electronics companies.

Brian Roberts and Mark Coblitz from Comcast Corp.; Glenn Britt and Mike Hayashi from Time Warner Cable; Dallas Clement from Cox Communications Inc.; Ted Rogers form Rogers Cablesystems Inc.; Charter Communications Inc. chairman Paul Allen; and Dick Green and David Reed from CableLabs were among those attending.

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