CableLabs® Releases OpenCable™ POD Interface Copy Protection System Specification
Louisville, Colorado, January 18, 2000—Cable Television Laboratories., (CableLabs®) has publicly released the OpenCable™ 1.0 interim specification for the point-of-deployment (POD) Copy Protection System.
This interim specification describes a mechanism to protect high-value content that crosses the POD-Host interface. The implementation of this mechanism requires use of the widely accepted so-called "5C" device certificate to authenticate the Host, and DES encryption to protect the content. This implementation was the result of cable, consumer electronics, and content production community agreements last year; this specification reaffirms that consensus. The specification also represents the final hardware specification necessary to complete the OpenCable 1.0 hardware system.
A host could be a set top or integrated television set; the removable security device (POD) would enable that device to interpret and display for consumers the copy-protected cable content.
This OpenCable specification represents the output of work completed over the past two years including a rigorous review process conducted by CableLabs, its members, and suppliers. The six OpenCable interim specifications provide the vendor community with the build-to requirements to begin the implementation stage of OpenCable-compliant retail products and PODs.
"This marks a major milestone in the OpenCable project and moves the industry closer toward its goal of retail market deployments in the second half of 2000," said Jim Chiddix, Chief Technical Officer of Time Warner Cable, and a key executive in the original negotiations of copy protection solutions for cable, and in the OpenCable project. "We are continuing to work as fast as we can to ensure that all the specifications that a supplier needs to build OpenCable boxes and PODs are available as long before July as possible," Chiddix added.
"We heard what [FCC] Chairman William Kennard told the consumer electronics show [audience] in his address in Las Vegas earlier this month. CableLabs remains committed to assisting the Chairman in any way possible and in its commitment to meeting his timeline for retail set-top boxes," said CableLabs president and CEO, Dr. Richard R. Green.
"I would prefer that the industries involved solve this problem among ourselves. I believe we can and I think that we are very close. I pledge that we will work very hard to achieve a completed agreement before April," Green added.
The six interim specifications are known as the Unidirectional Functional Requirements, the Bi-directional Functional Requirements, the Unidirectional Terminal Requirements, the OpenCable Network Interface, the Host-POD Interface, and the 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. The utility of the specifications is borne out by the development efforts of the 14 companies who participated in the December interoperability event.
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.
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 web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
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