16 Companies Respond to CableLabs® Software RFP
Louisville, Colorado, October 25, 1999—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) today announced that 16 companies have responded to the CableLabs OpenCable™ software request for proposal (RFP) for development of a middleware solution for advanced digital set-top devices. This software solution will allow national portability and will facilitate the retail sale of advanced digital devices that will deliver interactive services.
The responding companies are listed on the attachment. "These respondents represent the elite expertise of the software world, and their responses signal the intense interest that exists in the OpenCable platform for delivering next generation video, data, voice and interactive services," said Dr. Richard R. Green, president and CEO of CableLabs.
"This broad-scale participation by software industry leaders in the OpenCable middleware RFP gives us great confidence that we can move expeditiously toward meeting our important goals of making advanced digital set-tops widely available at retail, from a range of manufacturers, and ensuring that these set-tops are portable from system to system," said Mark A. Coblitz, vice president of strategic planning with Comcast Corporation and head of the OpenCable business team.
The RFP seeks a common solution for the middleware software segment of OpenCable retail devices that will stimulate innovation in the development of portable services and applications for cable's next generation digital set tops. It also will allow individual cable operators to deploy their custom services and applications, such as electronic program guides, video-on-demand, and electronic commerce, on compliant OpenCable host devices connected to the cable operator's network.
The middleware selection process will include a competitive, open solicitation, as has been established throughout the OpenCable process. The OpenCable middleware approach allows service developers to write applications that run on numerous hardware platforms independent of any operating system (OS) or processor residing in a particular device.
The process will result in a single API, or application programming interface, that will comprise a common set of instructions to applications or service providers on how to develop applications or services to run on the OpenCable platform. While the API will initially be a cable industry specification open for any service developer and manufacturer to build OpenCable devices, it is intended that the API ultimately will migrate into full status as a domestic and international standard through appropriate due-process standards organizations.
Any software provider may offer an implementation of the middleware API, providing an opportunity for competition. CableLabs will maintain the right to license the middleware implementation to ensure that licensing is timely and is non-discriminatory.
OpenCable is a fast-track initiative sponsored by leading cable television companies, managed through CableLabs, with a goal of attaining interoperable digital set-top boxes and other advanced digital devices manufactured by multiple vendors. These devices would be capable of delivering digital video, data and interactive services to a television set. The capability also may be built into consumer electronics devices, such as digital television receivers.
The OpenCable™ initiative has a number of components. First, it is the process by which advanced digital devices, including set tops, will be defined. Second, it is a blueprint for delivery of a series of advanced services to consumers; third, it is a family of cable digital devices; and fourth, it lays the foundation for the creation of a consumer brand.
The following companies responded to the OpenCable middleware software RFP by October 14, 1999:
- Advanced Television Systems Committee
- Canal Plus
- General Instrument
- Hewlett-Packard Company
- Sun Microsystems
- VXM Network
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 and www.ebif.tv.
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