CableLabs® Makes Five Critical OpenCable™ Specifications Public
Louisville, Colorado, October 29, 1999—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) has publicly released five OpenCable 1.0 interim specifications. It also issued today an OpenCable draft specification to a group of more than 300 participating industry vendors for review and comment.
These five interim specifications complete all major hardware elements of the OpenCable specifications, and represent the output of work done over the past two years including a rigorous member and vendor review process.
The five interim specifications, along with the draft specification, provide the vendor community with the build-to requirements to begin the implementation stage of OpenCable compliant retail products and removable security devices (PODs).
This marks a major milestone in the OpenCable project and moves the industry closer toward its goal of retail market deployments in July 2000. Interoperability events for OpenCable-compatible equipment are ongoing at CableLabs and represent the next major effort of the project.
The five interim specifications are known as the Unidirectional Functional Requirements, the Bi-directional Functional Requirements, the Unidirectional Terminal Requirements, the OpenCable Network Interface and the Host-POD Interface. The draft specification is known as the Host-POD Copy Protection System.
The purpose of these specifications is to spell out for suppliers and others how to build products compatible with the OpenCable architecture for digital video systems, which will interoperate across a variety of independent cable systems. These specifications include some key information that the manufacturers need to complete their design and manufacturing of digital devices.
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 third stage of OpenCable, development of a common set of software APIs for OpenCable devices, was announced earlier this year. The specifications released today will tie into the middleware API�s.
�These specifications will enable some exciting new interactive services for cable customers," said Jim Chiddix, Time Warner Cable Chief Technical Officer and a key executive in the OpenCable project. �OpenCable manufacturers benefit greatly from this timely delivery to them of the industry�s requirements for advanced digital services," Chiddix noted.
�The release of these specifications is another large step by CableLabs in its march to ensure that OpenCable�s timelines are met and, as importantly, that retail set tops are available next year," said Tony Werner, executive vice president, engineering & technical operations, and chief technology officer for AT&T Broadband & Internet Services. He added that when coupled with the industry�s current software selection process, �Cable is developing the kind of competitive position through national retail availability and portability of products that other service providers have long enjoyed."
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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