Vendors Flock to OCAP Call


Cable Television Laboratories Inc. didn't exactly have a shortage of
companies responding to its request for implementations of the OpenCable
Applications Platform (OCAP) specification.

A total of 14 companies responded to the Louisville, Colo.-based
cable-technology consortium's call -- Advanced Digital Broadcast, Alticast Inc.,
Canal+ Technologies, Espial Group Inc., Liberate Technologies, Microsoft Corp.,
OpenTV Corp., Panasonic Consumer Electronics, Royal Philips Electronics, Pioneer
Consumer Electronics Co., Samsung Electronics America Inc., Tata Elxsi Ltd.,
Vidiom Systems Corp. and Zentek Technology Japan/ Ltd.

Some of these suppliers have indicated that their product-delivery target
dates could be as early as 2003, according to CableLabs.

OCAP sets the blueprint for the middleware used in advanced digital set-top
devices, including set-top boxes and integrated digital-television sets.

Middleware acts as a sort of software bridge, providing the links between a
device's operating system and the applications running in the device.

CableLabs sought the implementations to help speed along development around
the standard, helping cablers to make purchasing systems to launch OCAP-based

The cable companies that will receive the proposals list include AT&T
Broadband, Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc.
and Time Warner Cable.

'Most of the responding companies have extensive experience with the European
MHP [Multimedia Home Platform] specification, which comprises a large portion of
OCAP,' CableLabs vice president of advanced platforms and services Don Dulchinos

'In addition, most of the companies responding to the RFP [request for
proposals] have well-defined target platforms, and many are offering support and
tool kits for application developers,' he added.

CableLabs has evaluated each of the designs and the results have been passed
on to the participating cable operators. The vendors have also passed on details
about the commercial deployment of their products to the cablers directly, and
from there, the MSOs can make their decisions.