Cable Industry Creates 'OpenCable™' Goal is Interoperable Set-top Boxes
Louisville, Colorado, September 4, 1997—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) and its members have established "OpenCable™," a project aimed at obtaining a new generation of set-top boxes that are interoperable. These new devices will enable a new range of interactive services to be provided to cable customers.
The open specifications project is patterned after the industry's successful Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) process which continues within CableLabs.
The first task of OpenCable will be to evaluate responses to a request for information (RFI) that was sent to leading computer and consumer electronics companies. The RFI seeks their input into the open specification process and the creation of a draft specification for advanced set-top boxes.
The OpenCable effort will include an intellectual property (IP) pool and a certification process for testing vendor compliance.
CableLabs executives and board members have held a series of meetings with the CEOs of companies in the computer and consumer electronics industries on the topic of set-top boxes over the past few months. A CableLabs Task Force on Advanced Set-Top Boxes, chaired by MediaOne President and COO William T. Schleyer, a member of the CableLabs Board of Directors, has overseen the effort.
"It appears that consumers will benefit from the capabilities that the computer industry can provide to the cable set-top boxes of the future," Schleyer said. "In order to spur demand for new services that would take advantage of the new set-top architecture, and to further Congress's and the FCC's mandate of retail availability, advanced set-top boxes should have funtionality within a common framework that allows different levels of complexity. The boxes also should be interoperable," he added.
"Our meetings with other industries have shown us that microprocessor and semiconductor technologies are advanced to the point where a set-top box can become a digital set-top computer very soon," said Dr. Richard R. Green, president and CEO of CableLabs. "That will give the cable industry a tremendous platform from which to provide a whole new level of services to its customers," Green said.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains additional web sites at www.cablenet.org.
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